How Did I Get Here?

And other musings from a girl in her mid-twenties…

Le sigh.  I finally got the bad news today that I’ve been expecting (on whether or not I could hope that my 6-month contract with the school I work for would be renewed until the end of the year or not) and sadly, it doesn’t look good.  As in, nice try kid but you’ve got no shot in hell of working here over the fall.  Better luck next time.  

I knew this was a possibility, but now bodes the ever-present question lurking in the back of every twenty-something’s head: What next?  What next?! WHAT NEXT??  You expect me to all of the sudden just have a PLAN for my life or something?  Don’t you KNOW that’s why I ran away to Europe in the first place, because I had no plan for my future and was scared shitless?  Thanks a lot, universe, for kicking me right back to the curb of where I used to live: in uncertainty.

I think (or at least I hope) that I’m not the only twenty-something out there who feels like this.  I mean, we’ve been told our whole lives that we should be working towards something, towards a goal–a house, kids, a car, vacations in the summer–and that the only way to get there is to go to university and then get a job.  Well, that’s all fine and great for some people, but for others?  For me?

For me, the whole world is an epic adventure.  I want to stand on the mountaintops of Switzerland and scream into the freezing cold air.  I want to dance with my friends in the streets of Prague, drink red wine on the rooftops of Florence, submerge myself in the thermal baths of Budapest and experience life with every last dying cell in my body.  I crave adventure, the unknown–I need the uncertainty to feel alive.

And so here is the horrid truth that nobody tells you when you’re little–what if what you want to be when you grow up is an explorer? An adventurer? A pirate of the unknown?  

Well, kid, then you’re shit out of luck.  Just like me.

So, maybe I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  Or maybe, I know exactly what I want to be, only it doesn’t pay the bills and will forever leave me feeling spent, broke and struggling?  Reality can be a crafty little bitch, making you believe that you have to sacrifice what your heart really wants in order to meet the standards of your social class–I’ve been there.  Faced with the cold hard facts, I’ll still take the job that puts cash in my wallet and food on my table over one that I’d really love but struggle financially…every single time.  

Money is louder than love.

It speaks to a brutal part of my soul, the cruel and cunning voice in the back of my head that says go ahead, take the forbidden fruit.  I hate myself for it, but each month as I scrounge the couch cushions looking for a few extra coins, I tell myself that this time, I will be different.  No more waiting tables, searching for spare part-time work.  I will get a good job, one that gives me security and benefits and makes me look like a real adult.

And then I think to myself, Fuck that.

Maybe I’m a writer, or maybe I’m just a vagabond looking to excuse a life of late nights and temporary experiences as something more meaningful.  Either way, I’d rather die knowing that I lived a life worth talking about, rather than a comfortable one.  I’d rather beg on the streets of Italy than sit behind a desk in a cubicle in Silicon Valley.  I’ve got too much to see of the world–my wings are trembling for a new flight to somewhere yet untold.  I’m a traveler, I’m an expatriate.  I’m a pirate of the unknown.

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