Every time I see a baby, I can’t help but think how much disappointment and pain this person is going to feel. She (let’s call her she for simplicity) has not experienced any of her life, and she is so happy. She just crawls around and laughs and eats and smiles and poops. She has yet to experience junior high school, rejection, illness, loss, depression, and, depending on the choices that she makes in life, poverty, hunger, and drug dependency.
I can’t just see a baby for her cute innocence. Her whole life flashes before my eyes, and I want to try to protect her, because I know how hard life can be. I want to keep douchebag men away from her in twenty years, and I want to tell her the dangers of texting and driving.
I don’t remember being a baby, and I know that that was the happiest moment of my life. I think it’s a cruel trick that we can’t remember that early period in our lives. When I’m upset, I try to think back on a happy memory. Just once, I want to remember rolling around in my own food and vomit and pooping my diapers and just screaming and drooling for hours. Granted, I do remember that, but I want to have those memories that didn’t occur four years ago. I want to remember the first time I did those things. Back when I didn’t do things like that due to a stress and anxiety-induced nervous breakdown. Back when I didn’t have the cognitive capacity to know that if I did all of these things, I would lose everyone I ever knew and loved.
Maybe I’m an exception, and my life so far has been more mentally straining than the average twenty-nine-year-old. That is, American twenty-nine-year-old. I’m sure that the majority of people my age around the world have had it much worse.
Babies are cute, and I should just focus on the cuteness. They will be in control of their own lives.
I am reaching a critical point in my life. My job affords me enough money to possibly buy a new car, yet I am morally opposed to buying something when I can just as easily not buy it and have a lot more money. I drive a 1997 Volvo S90. It is fantastic. It provides every luxury demanded by my cosmopolitan lifestyle. Namely, the air conditioning works and the wheels turn.
I started thinking, though, that in order to date successfully, I should get a car that isn’t the personification of my lifetime of shortcomings. Maybe there’s more to life than a functional air conditioner and an AM/FM radio. I don’t want to be that guy with all the high tech gadgets like tinted windows and power steering. I got so caught up in the comfort of American amenities that I forgot who I was inside. I don’t need a working radio or seatbelts in order to live. I need seatbelts that are approved by some government organization.
Assuming that I decide to buy a new car, I will have to cut back on my already cut back lifestyle. First, I will have to cut my three meals a day to one Snickers bar a day. I will have to stop texting and talking on my phone. My parents will have to go a few years before knowing that I am okay. Also, I will have to go a little while with no health, life, or car insurance. I think it will be alright if I find the love of my life and don’t die in the process.
I think that most people who know me would say that my lifestyle, mostly because of my job, is pretty unpredictable. Many of my friends from both college and high school have lives that look much different than mine, and on the surface appear to have things much more together than I do. Since graduating from college I have worked for four different schools in five years (all as a college basketball coach), and have lived in New Mexico (two years), New Hampshire (one year) and Florida (one year) before taking a job in Chicago last August. Most people I know, while they may not still be at the same “place” they were right after college, are at least in the same city and appear to be on a stable and progressive career path. I, on the other hand, work in an extremely fluid profession with a turnover that appears to be accelerating with each passing season, meaning there are no guarantees year to year that I will be in the same city or even have a job, period.
I believe that there is a general list of assumed characteristics that people are looking for when assessing who they are potentially interested in dating, which includes honesty, intelligence and passion (amongst others), and while I believe that I possess those and other desirable traits there is one important one on most people’s list that there’s no guarantee I will ever be able to fulfill; stability. I believe that as the number of years since we’ve graduated from college grows most people begin to put more of a premium on finding someone stable with whom they can rely on and begin a life with. However while I believe that I am a very loyal and dependable person my job ultimately comes first, which means that in many situations it seems as though I am not making my personal relationships the type of priority they should be.
Certainly I can’t argue this point, and perhaps the right person for me is someone who feels similarly passionate about their job; however, I can’t get past the idea that the choices I make concerning my job on a daily basis, and career from a long-term perspective, puts such parameters on my personal life and ability to maintain and grow relationships. Ultimately this is one of the sacrifices that I’ve decided to make in pursuit of my career aspirations, and I have never had second thoughts that this was the right decision for me. However, this doesn’t mean it always feels good or that it doesn’t bother me that the instability and uncertainty in my professional life makes it difficult for people to rely on and get close to me. In the end life comes down to a series of choices, and so much of the choices we make are affected most by their timing, so really all we can do it let things play out, do what we think is best for ourselves at the time and hope everything works out in the end.