Recently, I was asked how I would like to be seen by others. I didn’t even have to think about it. I answered immediately.
“Smart. Capable.” A pause. “With it.”
Then I was asked who I admire, what kind of person I’d like to be like. And in relation to that person, who am I?
The people I admire most fit one of two models:
a) The neo-yuppie. She has sleek hair, tortoiseshell glasses, wears neutrals from Banana Republic. She has a jack russell terrier. She drives a Jetta. She works in something like PR or marketing and she lives in a city and on sundays she reads the nyt and does the crossword. She goes to the gym every day. She’s a rising star in her office and she never appears anything less than professional. She has a boyfriend, who is much like her, and they drink wine with dinner most nights. No one ever doubts that she is intelligent and capable, graceful and complex. No one has ever accused her of being shallow.
b) The arty chick. Her curls are never quite tame. She is thrift-store chic. She drives a shitty old car and if she has a pet it’s a mutt from the shelter or a quirky and possibly disabled cat. She definitely doesn’t work a 9-to-5 job but she does live in a city and she knows all the best places to go for indie flicks and good eats and great tunes. She wouldn’t be caught dead in a gym because that kind of routine is not for her. Her apartment is awash in color and she spends sunday mornings in tangled sheets rubbing her feet against her lover’s. No one ever doubts that she is intelligent and capable, graceful and complex. No one has ever accused her of being shallow.
And the next part – who am I?
The problem is that I still don’t know, I think. But I fear that I’m nothing like either woman described above and I’m not sure that I ever will be like them at all.
All I know right now is that I’m running myself into the ground, working my ass off in a career I’m not sure is mine and hemorrhaging money on things I don’t need and running like a hamster in a wheel. And I’m not doing enough that’s good for myself and my body and my heart are really feeling the strain of that neglect and I guess, maybe what I need to do is figure out what in the hell it is that I’m looking for and go and find it.
Maybe this is what it’s like for everyone my age. I don’t know if that would make me feel better or worse. And it’s not that I’m angry or tearful or depressed. It’s not one of those pieces. I am, however, dissatisfied and restless and I’d love to figure out how to alleviate that.