A rarely discussed factoid about yours truly is my age (in human years). Like most things
that are awesome in life, my age it’s a double-edged sword for me…both a source of pride and insecurity. I am fucking old all of a sudden thirty years of age. While I’m proud of who I am in many ways, I am insecure about my age. To clarify, this is not because of who I am and what I have accomplished. It’s not because I have found myself in touch with my mortality and approaching nutrition and exercise with the same fervor that I used to approach casual sex dating. Nope. Rather, it is what I have not accomplished that gives me pause, the occasional cringe, and countless sleepless nights of panicking in a cold sweat wondering how to change where I’m at…and quickly.
Until relatively recently (the nineties are still recent, right?) thirty was a mark of undeniable adulthood. By adulthood I don’t just mean age. I also mean accomplishment. You see, it was much less about how many days you’ve managed to not-off-yourself in a row and much more about an internal awareness of your maturation into a productive (or its antithesis if you were
a loser less driven) member of your society, community, city or what-have-you. It was primarily for this reason that I grew up assuming that by thirty, I’d be married with children, own a home, have a career, good friends, a burgeoning social life, a retirement plan, investments, etcetera. *I just threw up a little. In my mouth. I’m okay now.*
Now, maybe it’s that I chose to go to college in Los Angeles and found myself “stuck” here after undergrad. By stuck I mean I just can’t afford to leave this gotta-be-plastic-and-tan celebritard focused city because it sucks every…single…dime out of me faster almost faster than I can earn them. (Or at least that’s how it feels…down there Los Angeles die hards, I don’t hate your precious city. It’s just a tad hard on the wallet
and my mortally wounded ego). Maybe it’s that the world is just a harder place these days in general (than it was for our parents generation). Maybe, and most likely, it’s a combination of the two. Whatever the reasons may be, I’ve got a lot missing from my “adulthood.” For example…
1. I do not now hold, and have never have held, any assets. Assets are property. Now don’t get me wrong. I own shit. I’ve even got nice shit. I’ve got a bed made out of solid teak. Teak. Yeah buddy. AND it’s a QUEEN sized bad-boy of a bed that I even make every morning. Now that’s growed-the-fuck-up behavior right there. Unfortunately for me and many of my cohorts, however, property is land. The double bad news: Property in Los Angeles starts at about $350,000 (for an empty lot in nice areas of the city, for a delapidated house in others. It depends on where you are). A home at $350,000 has a monthly mortgage of about $3,000.00. In order to pay a $3,000.00 per month mortgage, one must make a total household income of $9,000.00 or more, unless you want to become housing insecure (and who wants to become anything insecure, amiright??) So I do not now, and never have, owned a home. Grown up quality #1 - strike.
2. I’m not currently wed. Or is it wedded? Married. I got no ball an’ chain to speak of. I am not saying this is a requirement for everyone, but for anyone who’d like to spawn a mini-me this might be a nice step along the path to Head of Household. Stay with me all ye feminists, single parents and those who have otherwise Household Headed. This is no judgement of alternative family structures. I’m not saying it’s a requirement for everyone, however in my case I am a mostly-heterosexual-female* who is relationship minded and wants to create little chromosomal reproductions of myself (thanks Mama Naturelle!) and I’d like to do so without sacrificing financial stability and perhaps even *gasp* liquidity. I’d really like to do so while earning enough money to save for retirement, a rainy day and a comfortable lifestyle along the way - you know, the kind with family vacations and enough money to celebrate the holidays in style - and maybe even enough to send said chromosomal reproduction to college someday. How’s them apples? So this wedded bidniz all of a sudden becomes a little more important to me. And let’s face it, by thirty you start to get those looks that scream “YOU HAVE A VAGINA! WHY AREN’T YOU MARRIED AND CHURNING OUT BABIES?! THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!” While they actually say “Hey, you know what? Don’t get discouraged. My cousin knew this girl who said the secretary of the President in her office? Yeah, that girl had a baby when she was FORTY. And she was FINE. I think…” Followed by a polite, sympathetic smile.
*mostly-heterosexual-female - to be addressed in long form in separate post, in short form: sexuality is a spectrum, not an either-or.
3. No chromosomal spawn. See above. Now continue here. This is the part that gets me…this doesn’t seem to be too complicated. Some girls catch newborns like they are the goddamn common cold. It’s practically like their boyfriends sneeze and they get pregnant. They “come down” with babies like it’s the easiest thing since spreadable butter (yesssss I used the spread metaphor on purpose). They use condoms and spermicide and diaphragms and the pill and the day after pill and they could bleach their vaginas afterwards for all I know and they still get pregnant. I’m not in this crowd of nubile women, apparently. Now I’ve never *tried* to get pregnant. But I’m thirty. Let’s be real. I haven’t been careful about spreading my butter all the time. Shocker. I’ll let that sink in. I haven’t tried to be stupid - I haven’t thrown my butter at the wolves and said “Have at it, boys!!” I didn’t want to deal with any infections or unwanted “whoopsie” babies. But I’ve had my nights where I tied one on, or the condom broke, or…you know how it goes. So as time goes on I find myself wondering - even outside of one of those oh-so-magical semi-life-long unions called marriage - will I ever be a mother? The idea that I might not…makes me kind of sad (so I quickly take a shot of tequila and pretend I love all the freedom. This happens every morning.)
4. A retirement plan. I read about those. Those things that people use to live on once they stop working. Um. Yeah. It’s a good thing I live on the ground floor because this one makes me really consider hurling myself to my death. Instead all I can do is look like I tripped on my own foot and fell flat on my face. Which is really quite embarrassing even though only my dog is watching (but even she looks ashamed to know me when I do this). I have recently started one of these again (yes, again - my failed attempt at #2 which is another blog post entirely was the silver bullet in my last retirement plan). So right now I’m starting from the age of thirty and hoping to save enough money to live on between the day I stop working and the day I die. Now I’m no genius (but I sure do like to claim to be one), but with medical science going the way it is…and inflation going the way it is…this means I’ll have to save something to the tune of 2.5 million dollars by the time I retire. In 35 years. Le Panic. So…okay. This one will give way to one - or several - future posts - but the skinny is this. OMIFUCKINGGODI’MGOINGTOWORKFOREVERANDTHENDIE. I guess I find this discouraging because when I look at my income (marginally okay considering…) and my debt (thanks, Private School, for my Master’s degree and my inability to pay for it) and my cost of living…I’m kinda trapped. By trapped I mean I am limited in what I can set aside each month for a “rainy day” fund, let alone for a “forty years down the line” fund. At this point, me and many young bloods I know wind up getting a high pitched ringing in our ears, a sense of urgency in our guts and the urge to go have sex with someone ten years younger than us (one of the only activities that cures this particular affliction). While this may be an enjoyable remedy, it doesn’t bring us any closer to being prepared for retirement. AND - retirement age gets a little closer every day. SO…fuckiwannadie.
As a result of these realisations, plus my relative apathy toward the idea of actually offing myself, I have decided that I should have a mental breakdown and fall into a deep depression, closely followed by a resurged interest in Piloting My Own Destiny. Barf. But really, I’ve decided to begin monitoring my steps toward being a real, honest to God adult. The kind that owns things that can be written off on taxes. The kind that says shit like “Wait, did I make that deposit in my 401K or my Deferred Benefit Plan? Did I maximize my ROTH IRA contributions for last years taxes? Should I roll my property taxes in with the mortgage or pay it bi-annually?” The kind of real, honest to God growed up person that drives her child to day care AND remembers to pick them up at the end of the day. That kind of person. Because I’m thirty. Goddamn it. Truth.