Does every person at some point in their adult life stop and think, “This is not who I expected to be?”
My thirtieth birthday is bearing down on me. I can feel it, a darkness in the corner of the room, quietly breathing, watching me.
I thought I would be so different by the time I turned 30. Things changed so slowly after college and I feel like I’m always vacillating between wanting to be who I am now and missing the person I got to be at 23. So often people want to go back to their teen years, but I would choose 23-25, minus the crazy ex-boyfriend.
When did I become the person constantly making lists of things that we need from the grocery store in her head? When did I become someone perfectly content to cook and clean and put things away all day long?
I loved my old job. I didn’t always love some of the people I worked for at my old job, but I loved it. I loved the place I worked for my early twenties even more. I love feeling important. I love how much I can accomplish and how competent I feel when I’m taking control of something and I really know what I’m doing in an office.
I feel happier and more content than I have at least in the last two years just cleaning, writing, and cooking.
I thought I would hate being at home. I thought I would feel trapped and resentful. Funny, when I actually felt trapped and resentful was when I was the only one supporting us at all.
I think what really makes the difference for me is the kitchen.
This is the cleanest my kitchen has been in two years. He has always been in charge of the dishes. That was the deal: I cook, you clean up, we do equal work. He always seemed to have trouble following through on the dishes. I wash them almost right away and the kitchen always looks clean. And I feel like a domestic goddess because my kitchen is clean.
Sometimes there’s cat shit on the rug in front of the bathroom, but I can clean that up and still be a domestic goddess because my kitchen in fucking beautiful.
I just don’t understand how it came to this.
For all my independence and all my workplace competence, I enjoy being at home. That terrifies me. I keep thinking I should feel lost or guilty for this and so I have moments in which I am either or both.
But when I really get down to it, when I’m really and honorably truthful with myself, I am happy. I am happy to wake up every morning with my cats, walk into my kitchen and check the weather by how much fog has gathered on top of the bay like whipped cream on a sundae, and work on cutting through the vines in the yard for a few hours. I’m happy to do the dishes and laundry. I’m happy to make breakfasts and lunches the night before. I’m happy to make a weekly meal plan every Friday and look forward to making those dishes the next week.
The only problem is that I am lonely. Severely lonely. Lonely enough to make small problems seem huge and make me feel bored or useless every minute I don’t find a way to stuff full of some kind of project, and sometimes that loneliness makes me feel completely lost all over again.