A Repeating Cycle?

What if I’m never destined to “grow up”?  What if I never have the urge to “settle down”?  I’m really beginning to doubt either will ever happen.  I fear being boring, I fear being responsible for anyone other than myself.  Do I have to eventually cave?  Will I eventually cave on my own–part of a process?

Five years ago, I was about to graduate college.  I had a great group of friends I did not want to leave.  I wanted to stay in that state of arrested development FOREVER.  I got good grades, went to class, worked 40-60 hours a week, yet went out every night, didn’t seem to need any sleep, and every moment had the potential to be some sort of “great adventure.”

Then, I got rejected from every law school in the state I applied for (one lost my application–I applied online. WTF?!).  I did get in to a school in Iowa, Drake.  Suddenly, I was facing the inevitable–leaving behind everyone I knew to a state where I knew no one.

I reacted to this in two ways:

1) I tried to find/create a reason to stay. I jumped into a relationship with a guy I probably would not have otherwise.  I figured if I had someone there, I would have a reason to come back often, or maybe a reason to not even leave.  So I threw myself at him, made it more serious than it should be.  I got attached, and it backfired.  I felt like an idiot–a normal reaction when you let yourself get attached to someone you weren’t too crazy about in the first place and then have them end things.

2) Once I got that out of my system, I turned to making mistakes. I didn’t care.  I jumped into situations too quickly, thinking it would cause some drama that would make people miss me less or create awkward situations that I would want to be away from.  This also backfired–I found I enjoyed keeping things casual and apparently I handled such situations in humurous ways that made them not so awkward.  I jumped into friendships with new people and neglected the friends who had been there all along.  And still–nothing was so bad as to make it my desire to leave.  All it did was pack the restaurant for my goodbye breakfast.  I had my friends cut me a rat tail (see following picture).  The summer of Too Many Dudes became a summer of good memories, as opposed to the catalyst for rebirth I had hoped it would become.


I moved away, and for the first semester all I wanted to do was be back there.  I sent letters, made several phone calls, logged hours every day on AIM–all to stay apprised of what was going on.  Eventually, we all moved on.  That wasn’t my life anymore.  My life became school and going out too much for my own good.  Soon I had a newer, tighter group of friends here.

And then my last year of law school came.  This time, I was the one staying.  I went out more, but also kinda “settled.”  I was lazy–not making any new friends or mistakes.  I was playing it way too safe.  And I continued doing that for quite some time after school ended.

Now, I am facing a possible departure if I can’t find future employment around here.  Could this explain my desire to go out as much as possible?  The other things? I don’t know.  I really just think I am having fun, but the summer of ’04 I thought I was just having fun.  Maybe I am rebelling against all my friends that are falling victim to marriage, babies, and home buying?  (Okay, “falling victim” is a little harsh!)  I really do not know.  Will I change what I am doing?  Probably not.

For now, I’ll just keep looking for chances for personal development and focus on figuring out what I want.  I have every right to be selfish in that respect.

But this time I won’t have my friends cut me a rat tail.  That I do regret.

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One thought on “A Repeating Cycle?

  1. canpal says:

    Good post and all so true. And as far as “never growing up” – I share your feelings. A friend of mine played a show this weekend and sang a number of songs about being old and not “settling” or giving into the world that everyone else ends up giving into. He’s 30 – and it made me feel like “you know what – 26 is young. You know what – you don’t have to get married or have kids or buy a house to be a complete person. You don’t have to own a car or have a 401K. You don’t have to have a normal job if you can find another way to pay the bills doing what you enjoy. You can write, you can create, you can dream – life doesn’t end when you graduate from college.”

    I blame that whole “settling” lifestyle on the suburban ideals we were raised with. You can even have a family and not be sucked into the “two cars in the garage and two cats in the yard” life.

    Maybe you just need to get out of the midwest… ;)

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