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.

21 Replies to “restless”

  1. You aren't alone. We are all trying to make ourselves into the best we can be at our jobs, but we also own nothing and we buy buy buy and spend and leak money, all the while desiring more. It's comman. We are all there. I am there. But sometimes, when I am thinking clearly, I know that its not an issue of not being responsible; it's an issue of time. In time, all things will be better, because thats what we are working towards. But right now we are in the thick of it; not yet proven, expendable, and most of all unsure of our place in the world. And if we had the time…maybe we would examine that last question more…but we just get back on the wheel… I think

  2. Young and restless, wanting to know one's self. What do I want to be when I grow up? WHO do I want to be when I grow up?

    We've heard the phrase “Success is a Journey, not a Destination”, but most people think of success in terms of wealth. However, each of us does yearn for some aspect of fulfillment, often hastily attempting to placate this yearning with spending, sex, alcohol/drugs, TV, etc.

    I've found that the most satisfying way to address that yearning is to learn as much as I can, across broad subject domains. Concern's about one's image then becomes less important, though when one is single, it is difficult to dismiss it entirely (unless one becomes a monk/nun).

    I have found that work that contributes to the betterment of humankind gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction, whether it pays or is volunteer.
    I also believe that one's attitude is a very important factor; it affects how one interacts with others, and relationships are one of the key foundations of our being.

    One short book I would recommend reading (and ignore the quasi-sexist title, as it was written over 100 years ago) is “As a Man Thinketh, So He Is”.
    You are asking very good questions and being keenly introspective; this tells me you are on the right track…

  3. haven't read through yet but #1 totally sounds like jen. Only Texan.

    Hi jen.

    Well, not nesc. totally – I mean, I don't know well enough but that's who came immediately to mind.

  4. Mike, you swore up and down 2003 would be your great year… now I wonder what's planned for may.

    vas a vistarme?

  5. well i've got to give myself something to look forward to. and the offers from chi-town keep getting harder to ignore.

  6. I wish I'd commented before reading the comment trail. I was going to say that I'd like to be either of those models, but I lean towards a) because unless shitty-car girl is inherently wealthy, no 9-to-5 would mean (to me) no security, and I'm terrified enough as it is. And that's what I was going to say, before I read the comment trail. After reading the trail, I'm compelled to ask, “Alby, you mean, I'm pulling it off?”

  7. Well, jen – like I said, I really don't know for sure and I don't believe you'd have anything to do with the likes of a terrier but, yeah, the impression is – well, yeah.

    However, perhaps we might let the public judge; I submit the following for quick, “book-by-its-cover” decision.
    <a href=”

  8. I'm eating jelly bellies out of my brand-new bean-shaped Jelly Belly dispenser and I just had a really gross one. Ick.

  9. eh? retarded? what's that?

    I don't understand anymore.

    Let's all go to the beach. Really.
    awww, now I'm sad. I really do want to go to the beach.

  10. You are terribly, terribly lucky. Would you rather be like me, stuck in college with 30 dollars in your checking account, no decent job, and no reasonable idea of where you're going in life? I'd give anything for a crappy pain-in-the-ass 9-5 job and money to hemorrhage on things I don't need. And hey, hampsters in a wheel don't get anywhere, but at least they're not out on the street like stray cats. Sorry. I'm bitter. Have a nice day :)

  11. wondermart, How's about having college debt, 15 dollars in your account, no car and a job that pays about as much as my post-high school job scooping ice cream? That's how I could look at it anyway. Instead, I like the alley cat idea over stray – I'd love to be back at school but satisfy myself with the thought that I'm better, wiser, better in bed and still blooming -there's a lot of pedal left before I start wilting – or some shit like that.

    Lori, why haven't you taken a trip yet? American Airlines, net saver fares. Priceline. Southwest Airlines – just a weekend get-away.

  12. I'm actually going to Charlotte this weekend – leaving in the a.m. and then in January, biz/pleasure trip to upstate NY. I want to go somewhere entirely new but, frankly, am not yet courageous enough to go it alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.