I get annoyed at how often I balk at the trappings of adulthood. Bills show up, expecting that I pony up for all the amazing and comfortable things I have access to on a daily basis and I feel personally affronted. BUY WHYYY DO I HAVE TO PAYYY FOR STUFFFF! my brain says, seizing into the fetal position.
Paralysis sets in when I have to make important decisions. Hell, even not very important decisions, like getting a haircut. Sometimes I agonize internally over things to the point of being totally unable to decide how to move forward. Which looks a lot like inaction from the outside. Which triggers guilt and anxiety, which further cements the paralysis. It’s a mess up in my head. I feel like I’m not qualified to do any of this stuff that I have to do. Like, who would sell me a house and let me have a baby? Who was responsible for that? You’re fired!
I have to do something about my house in Memphis. My sweet little house in Memphis where my baby was born. I can’t keep it. I would love to keep it, so that when Holden is old enough, I can just take him over there and show him the spot where he was born in a big blue pool, and the spot on the counter where I used to feed him new foods while he sat in his Bumbo seat, and the spot in the living room where he used to sleep in the little swing. But I can’t keep the house. I am losing money to keep that house. We have renters and they are great and seem to be taking good care of the place, but I have to simplify things and get control of my finances back. And that won’t happen unless I get a big fat raise at work or I sell my house. But you need money to get a house ready to sell. And if there’s one thing I don’t have, it’s money. Cue paralysis.
Do you think people in 1929 agonized over their inability to feel grown up well into their 30s? Or do you think maybe they had to start feeling grown up when they were, like, eight years old, working in garment factories and raising their infant siblings because one of their parents died of dysentery on the Oregon Trail*? So that by the time they were 31 they were so exhausted and lucky to have escaped with all their limbs that they didn’t really entertain existential fuckery? I suppose it is a function of the luxury of modern middle-class living to even be able to despair over how difficult it is to feel qualified for adulthood.
And yet the modern middle-class life is impossible without the easy acquisition of debt, which hangs over our heads and sucks out so much of the oxygen of daily life that it’s no wonder we’re all super grumpy all the time despite all our toys.
What was I saying? Oh yes, I have got to sell my house. Not, like, RIGHTNOW but at some point. It’s coming. I have never sold a house before but I imagine it is painful in new and exciting ways to me. It’s making me sad to contemplate cutting the cord connecting me to my old life — the one where I grew up and grew into myself — but I have to keep reminding myself that home is wherever I make it and that, despite how much it is going to cost me to get the place ready to sell, the money I save in the long run will be very helpful in paying down the debt I’ve accrued to get here. Right? Right.
* Sometimes when I have had too much coffee, I mix really stupid metaphors.