Right now, things are going pretty well. (Although if you know me at all, you’ll know how terrifying that is for me to say). My husband Jefferson and I have been living (and doing well) in my parent’s basement for almost two months now, we are both thriving in our workplaces, and I finally feel like I have a stable community of people who care for me. But still, I feel…stuck.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that my husband I have some debt. Most millennials do, as university costs are outrageous and part-time jobs still pay beans. Though we are currently doing well for ourselves, there is still this big cloud of debt that hovers over me and weighs me down when everything else feels good.
I know that ‘this too shall pass.’ I know that we will not live in my parents’ basement forever, even if it feels that way right now. I know that I should be happy, or at least content, but I always have to find something to be worried about.
It feels like we will never have the means to own our own house or care for (possible) future children or live the relatively comfortable suburban life that our parents were blessed with.
It feels like we will be stuck in this same place forever. Many of my friends are not at the same stage as we are – and they don’t even want to be (and that’s totally cool). But of course, I compare myself not to them, but to the friends who own a house and have kids and get to spend time in their big beautiful backyard without worrying, ‘how long will I have to be dependant on my parents for? How long until I get my white picket fence?’
I know this is a horrible way of living and thinking. Comparison, well, you know what they say about comparison…
Yeah, there you have it. Enough said.
The thing is, I have felt this way before. Many times. When I was 14 years old, I was terrified of beginning my high school years. My family moved to a new neighbourhood and I hardly knew anyone at all. I remember sitting on the front porch of my house, staring at the little kids playing across the street, wishing I was them. Wishing I was either a carefree kid, or that I could skip ahead and already be done high school.
I remember going into my second semester of grade 11 thinking I still had so much time left and hoping, praying that I would get through the year…and the next year after that. I thought high school would never end. I thought I would never be an independent adult. I thought I would never drive and never go to university and never get a “real” job.
I remember after my first heart break, thinking I would feel that way forever. Feeling like I would never meet anyone who made me happy again. Wondering why I was destined to be “forever alone” at 19. Feeling like my life was stuck in place and would never feel any different.
I remember when I got engaged to Jefferson, feeling like the wedding day would never come. Like we were stuck in some time warp and being engaged was ‘totally the worst.’
I remember literally four months ago when Jefferson interviewed for, you guessed it, the job he has now, and we thought time had not just slowed down but moved backward as we waited to hear what would become of his first interview.
But when I look back at those times, I can’t help but laugh at myself…and also resist the urge to build a time machine just so I can go back and slap myself. High school was not an awesome experience for me, but I made tons of hilarious memories and still have close friends I met during those years.
My grade 12 year was actually one of the best, and it was the one I thought would feel like the longest time of my life.
When I was 19, crying in my room for hours, I thought my life was over. But now, I’m so happy I went through that because a) we were not right for each other, and heart break is a totally normal thing to go through, and b) I learned so much about myself through that relationship and grew more than I could have ever imagined. It also gave me a much-needed push to look after myself and pursue my own interests and friends.
That ‘horrible’ time I was engaged? I wish I could go back and enjoy it! I was so stressed the entire time I missed out on all the fun I could have had wedding planning with my mom or just enjoying the care-free moments with my now-husband.
And four months ago…yes, that was really stressful. But I was so stressed out that I did not get the chance to enjoy my last few months living in the first house my husband and I called our own (even if it was rented).
I look back at those times, how much simpler they seem, and I feel jealous of younger me.
I know that five years from now, I will look back at the time I lived at my parents’ house in jealousy. We don’t pay rent or buy groceries or even cook most of our own meals. I get to spend my mornings with the sunshine poking through kitchen windows drinking espresso with my mom. I get to go shopping in the afternoons with my dad and stay up late laughing with my brother when Jefferson works late.
I have to keep reminding myself that this moment will eventually become a memory and knowing me, I’ll get nostalgic about it real quick.