Inadequate 20’s

Today is one of those days where my circumstances leave me extremely contemplative and introspective. Let us forget about the part where I have relationship issues. That part is never new. I’m always having relationship issues. The issue being, I can’t seem to find the right person to enter into a relationship with. I digress….

Today, I had a conversation with a friend and ex-coworker of mine, Tanaya. She really is a special individual who always has a point of view that I never would have thought of and that is precisely why I adore her. I am 23 years old and two years ago, I “should” have graduated college. Instead, I will probably graduate with my BA in a little over two years. The mere thought of this makes me feel ill to the stomach. What the fuck have I have been doing all this time? So many of my friends have already graduated. My friends Bibi and Rudi graduated from nursing school and are both RN’s. Just a few weeks ago Bibi returned from a trip to Morocco. When she’s not jet-setting, she lives here in NY and drives the cutest and most befitting white BMW that she pays for herself. Rudi recently bought a new car as well. My friend Rudine is currently in Boston at Emerson working on her Masters degree. My friend Livia just got her BA as well. Alicia graduated last year from NYU with a degree in Mathematics and she is currently working in a corporate office doing their finances. Nowadays, a bachelor’s degree isn’t the key to success that it once was. In fact, I know many people who hold master’s degrees are still working retail. I have to clarify, I am not jealous (well, maybe a little). What I feel is this overwhelming sense of inadequacy. It stems from the knowing that there are things that I SHOULD have done, yet for one reason or another, I have not. I too should have graduated from college in 2011. I too should be working some entry level job somewhere. I too should have moved out of my family’s house. I too should be traveling when I have the time/money that I earned for myself. It all makes me feel like I am such a loser. It makes me feel like I am a child living in this man’s body. It makes me feel insecure.

I know that I am definitely not the only 20-something that has this feeling bubbling inside of them. I grew up here in NYC, and I identify myself wholeheartedly as a New Yorker. I grew up in one of the capitals of the world where I have been exposed to cultures from all over the world, to music, to theater, to fashion, to top notch cuisine. Aside from that, I have been lucky enough to have traveled in my lifetime to places like Argentina, Spain, Italy, California, Florida, and many other states. I know that “off paper” I have so much to offer. I acknowledge that I am smart, caring, generous, empathic, nurturing, devoted, and pretty good looking (or so I’m told). It’s the “on paper” portion that leaves me feeling like a worthless piece of crap. I’m 23 and still living at home. I don’t have a degree, and I don’t have a job that would allow me to afford any type of NYC rent. I don’t really know what anyone could possibly see in me.

My college career has been tumultuous, to say the least. In high school, I was definitely known as the smart over-achiever type. I edited the school newspaper, I was on the tennis team, I ran track, I helped start the glee club, and I was always making dean’s list. I always tested in the top percentile on all standardized tests. Right out of high school, I went straight to Hunter College, and all that I just mentioned went out the window. None of it mattered. My high school was miniscule. Hunter College was the biggest culture shock of my life. Not only are there thousands upon thousands of students everywhere, but, much like my high school, none of the administration seems very apt or willing to assist you when it comes to the entire process. My parents, God bless them, really were of no help to me either. Neither one of them ever went to college, and I am first generation American, so to say that they don’t know what it’s like would be an understatement. Still, they do what they can for me and I appreciate it so much. I feel like I have let them down. I know that I have let myself down. Instead of trying to work things out, I flunked out of Hunter College. I was depressed, I was confused, scared, and lazy. I was in complete awe of all my friends who seemed to know exactly what it was that they wanted to do and just how to achieve it.

In present day, I am enrolled in a 2 year degree program, and this is the first time in a number of years since being asked to leave Hunter that I am actually matriculated in a degree program. I don’t know if you can imagine how monumental that is for me. For such a long time, I was so distraught over the fact that I had no idea where I would be able to acquire a degree. I took classes at FIT in fashion design for a while, and I learned a heck of a lot, but I would not be getting a degree from them. Not with my academic history. Then, I stopped going to school completely and decided to work full time instead. According to my tax-return papers, that year I made $35,000. I wonder where that money went, and then I look around my room and see all my clothes and designer sunglasses. Petty, I know. I disappoint myself time and time again it seems. For I know that with 35,000 I could have easily moved out on my own. Instead I decided to be frivolous. No one has ever been able to light a fire under my ass. That is, not until now. The only person that can light a fire under my ass is me. I am finally on a path to a degree, and it is the biggest relief in the world. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know that I can achieve what I work towards. It’s a very simple lesson, conceptually, but it has been very hard for me to learn. I wish I had someone to teach me right.

The other day, I was talking with my best friend’s coworker, who happens to be a 41 year old single mother. She was speaking to me about her son. I’ve met him, and he is definitely a sweetheart. He is 14 years old and just about to start high school in September. Everything that his mom told me sounded all too familiar to me. He reminds me of myself. She tells me that he is very smart, and all his teachers know it. He only seems to lack with his writing prowess. She asked me if perhaps I could help him. I told her that I would be more than happy to try. It made be feel a sense of pride that she would even consider me for such a task. I vow here in front of the internet, that I will do all I can to help mold this kid’s talent. I want to teach him the tricks of the trade, because I know that if I had someone to show me the ropes when I was his age, it truly would have made all the difference.

I want to put this out there: sometimes there is such a thing as being too smart for your own good. Things may come naturally to you and so you know that you don’t have to work that hard to pass or move forward. Even though this doesn’t seem like an issue, I assure you that it is. If you become comfortable then you never really learn to work hard. There will never be a fire under your ass, and that fire is something that we all need. It is what pushes people to DO. For the parents out there who have intelligent children, or naturally gifted children; children who are well behaved, and sweet, and never really anything wrong, well… BE CAREFUL. They may be the ones that are in most trouble.

Soon, I will be my own success story, but it has been a long time coming. Wish me luck, everyone.

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