Dave and I got married less than six months ago. Within those six months, we each started new jobs. He's now practicing in Workers' Comp instead of Family Law, and I'm a physical therapist at a local hospital instead of at Grady, a Level 1 Trauma Center. We also bought a house...much sooner than we had planned to. We feel incredibly blessed to have had such wonderful opportunities present themselves, but I'm also really proud of us for having the courage to pursue these accomplishments. It hasn't been easy, but we're very grateful and very excited.
That being said, even good things are stressors when they are so significant. I'm exhausted. I'm overwhelmed. And I'm not exercising (my favorite way to relieve stress), and I'm eating like crap because, frankly, I just don't have time to make better decisions. All I can think about it this massive to do list that must be completed before 8:30AM on Saturday, and it's making it really difficult to concentrate on what should be my first priority: learning the ropes at my new job. It's made me question - is it worth it?
I've said from the get go that I was a little uncertain about moving to the suburbs. But maybe this isn't just about the suburbs; maybe that's just a metaphor for the big picture. Atlanta is a posh, exciting environment full of beautiful people, and fun events and activities to suit a variety of interests. It's also loud, dangerous, and crowded. Marietta is quieter, more family-friendly, and still has lots of charm...but it's not Atlanta. Atlanta is my 20s and Marietta is my 30s. Though Atlanta still sounds really exciting to me, it's becoming less and less appealing to me whether I like it or not, simply because I'm getting older. In fact, Marietta makes me feel older, and I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.
I was so ready to get into this house and start this new job, but part of me feels like I'll be missing something. I left the intensity and insanity of Grady for something safer, but is it going to be interesting enough? The same goes for my new residence. I couldn't get out of our apartment complex fast enough. The neighborhood had really gone downhill and there were some incidents that made sleeping there a little more difficult...you know, like my car getting stolen. On the other hand, this is the only home I've known since I moved here after college. We were in this apartment complex throughout grad school as we struggled through our coursework and studying for the boards and the bar, respectively. It was in this apartment that I screamed out "Length-tension relationship!" in my sleep as I had stress dreams about doctorate-level exercise physiology. This apartment was the only home I felt I had when my parents divorced a few years ago. I can't stand this place, but at the same time, it's familiarity is comforting.
All of this change at once makes me worry that I, myself, will change. I know I like baking and home decor and, for some reason, that means I'm more domesticated than most of my fellow feminists. But why does everyone keep interpreting "I'm moving OTP" to mean "I'm going to spit out a kid within the next year?" Don't get me wrong, becoming a mother someday is a very important dream of mine, but why do people keep suggesting that it has to happen immediately now that we have a suburban home? What part of these expectations belong to me and what part belong to someone else? How do I cross over into this new environment while remaining true to myself and who I want to be at this point in my life?
Then, I realized something today that gave me a little bit of perspective on this matter: The reason city life seems less appealing to me is because I'm outgrowing it. It's not a good thing or a bad thing, I'm just slowing down because time isn't. Part of me still wants to go out in Midtown, but part of me is ready to settle in. I may not be ready to have kids yet, but regardless, it ain't just about me anymore.
My family, looking out from our new front steps.
Maybe I'll be a little more boring than I used to be. But maybe that's just because as you get older, the excitement comes from within. Maybe it comes from the people you're with, not the things you do. Maybe 20 year-old Julia would look at 30 year-old Julia, roll her eyes and say, "You've sold out!" But maybe 30 year-old Julia would look at 20 year-old Julia and say, "I couldn't keep up with you. I have more important things to do now." I guess goals just change throughout your life. We just have to do the best we can to keep up with them.
I'm sure I'll feel nostalgic for what's behind me, and I'm not sure what's next. Until I figure it out, I'll just be as patient as I can with this awkward phase of limbo, and have faith that this horrible adjustment period will be worth it.
Anyone else out there having a quarter life crisis?