Two weeks ago I had a chance to attend a book signing/talk that should have inspired me to be a better me. Instead I left needing time to reflect. And now, after a few days I feel lower than usual. I feel at nearly 40, I’m an absolute failure.
When I was 16 and working at Filene’s Basement, I worked with a few women who were in their early 20’s and I thought they were so glamorous and lived such exciting lives. I couldn’t wait to be 21.
When I was 21 I was still an undergrad. I was still trying to figure out my life. I certainly wasn’t going out to clubs and bars and having a good time. I was completely screwed up emotionally.
I wanted more; I wanted stability and love and marriage. I figured by the time I was 25 I’d have it all wrapped up.
When I was 25 I was dating (someone I now refer to as) “the one who got away.” I thought he was the one. I thought we were going to be together. We had been living together (until he asked me to move out) and I hoped we could reconcile and make it work out. I wanted to be engaged and married and start a family; we already had 2 cats together. I figured by the time I was 30, I would have it all figured out. I’d have a a husband and a career and kids. I’d have amazing mom friends and a perfect house.
By the time I was 30, I was an absolute mess. I had ended the relationship with the one who got away and dated and got engaged to someone else. I spent 4 years trying to fix him, to make him the man I thought he could be. I was an idiot. You can’t fix hate that’s been learned (at least I couldn’t do it).
I had gained back all the weight I worked hard to lose. I was fat (again) and hated myself (still).
I was single, living in my childhood bedroom in my parents house with my cat. I was single, miserable, and on the verge of bankruptcy. I didn’t have
many friends. And despite having earned my first Masters degree the year before, I had a crummy job and could hardly support myself. I figured by the time I was 35, I would have to have it figured out.
By the time I was 35, my life had taken a major turn. I moved to Scotland to pursue my second Masters degree since I still had been unable to find a full time teaching job. It was an amazing decision and I don’t regret it, but I was lonely. I didn’t make any friends, and the stresses of the year were overwhelming.
I was still fat and frustrated and wishing I had made better food choices; I felt like I had let my body down after (cosmetic) surgery.
Right now at 38 and change? Well, I’m going to be 40 in a little more than a year and I am not happy with my life. I say I am happy with who I am (and in some ways I am) but I’m sad overall. I haven’t really made friends here (my own fault), I’ve been single for over a decade. I haven’t had sex in over a decade and I think it’s starting to get to me (you think?)!
I’ve had a rough few years here in Scotland; I’ve lost both my parents and a beloved pet. I’ve lost weight, gained weight, had the never ending headache issue. I’ve struggled with my thesis, with motivation, with getting out of bed.
The PhD has been one issue after another. I’ve contemplated a break; taking a holiday or leaving flat out. I am sticking with it right now, but there are days when I want to run away.
And with all of that, I have no idea how I am supposed to go about getting the life I want. I know what I want for the future and where I want to be when I am done with my PhD. I am just not sure I will be able to do and go where I want to (live in London and live a glamorous life). I’ve accepted the fact that I will most likely be alone and will not have a family of my own. Accepting that has been hard, but it is probably for the best. I think that the amount of baggage I carry would be a major issue and in regards to having children, time has pretty much run out. It’s time to accept this.