The main difference between 20-something me and 30-something me is that I’m more certain today than ever that I will never get my shit together. That might sound like a gloomy proclamation, but I promise it’s not. I’d actually argue that it’s a mark of maturity to recognize what a mess your life will always be.
Fresh out of college, when I was working on Wall Street, I remember feeling like I knew exactly what I was doing with my life. I’d graduated from a “good” school and landed a “good” job and I was dating a tall, handsome guy who made a “good” living and came from a “good” family.
Over the course of three increasingly grueling years, I realized that I was wrong about a lot of things. I saw that my soul was handcuffed to a job about which I felt lackluster at best, no matter how much they paid me, and that I was surrounded by people I couldn’t emulate. After soaking my pillow in tears too many nights in a row, I quit banking without any specific future plans in place. At 25, I knew that I never wanted to wear another sweater set, but beyond that, I was pretty fucking clueless as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Still, I was absolutely certain that figuring my shit out was entirely possible—that through introspection and hard work, I would arrive at My Happy Place. I sincerely believed that I would reach a point at which I felt content in all aspects of life.
I would carve out a fulfilling career in a new field and settle down with the right guy and our mostly peaceful, enriching lives would unfold as the years went by. I wasn’t dumb to the fact that there would be obstacles along the way, but I did expect the proverbial stars to align for me as long as I put some effort in. I felt entitled to happiness, you might say.
A decade later, an outsider evaluating my circumstances might argue that I have figured my shit out. The process of establishing myself as a writer was by no means easy, especially without an English degree, a byline (not even on a personal blog!), or any industry connections to speak of. But I did it. I am also in a serious, loving relationship with a man I truly adore.
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