I am a walking contradiction. I am very cynical and people have described me as cold in the past. On the other hand, I wear my heart on my sleeve and get emotional very easily. It doesn't take much, good or bad, to turn me into a blubbering mess.
At my friend's wedding this past Sunday, I found my first grey hair. It caused a lot of emotions (none good) inside me. For the first time, I can say that I truly felt old. Later, TLS found an old picture on facebook of the two of us from my 21st birthday. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have always had a struggle with my weight and appearance (including a brief bout with anorexia in middle school). Even when I was a size 4, I felt like a very fluffy size 4, and that I was bigger than all of the size 6 and 8 girls I know. Anyways, I noticed that since that day, the then-skinny RAG had lost a lot of weight and I had gained it all and then some. TLS showed me that picture to try to show me how long we had been friends and how far we'd come since that night, but it just stirred up more negative emotions in me.
One thing that very few people know about me is that I never graduated college. I was in school for all four years and had a very rough senior year. A roommate and friend passed away. Several months later, I got very sick and was hospitalized and needed to have surgery. In between all of this, I lost a lot of time from all of my classes and failed nearly all of my classes. In trying to keep up in one class, I got further behind in another one, and so on, it was a domino effect of sorts. I walked with my class but did not receive a diploma. My plan was to go back the following year to finish up my degree, but then the place that I interned at wanted to hire me and created a position just for me. With the job market at that time being horrible (a friend of mine who graduated cum laude and was on the Dean's List ended up working at Target because that was all she could get), I decided that it was more practical to take the job, rather than turn it down, go back to school, and then not find a job a year later. It then turned out that one of the classes I needed in order to graduate was only offered at my old college in the spring semester. At 2pm. Two weekdays. That meant that I couldn't work and finish my degree, and that got pushed on the backburner some more.
Growing up, I was very spoiled. My parents gave me a lot but I also always had a job ever since I was 15. When I got laid off last December, it was a mix of emotions for me. On the one hand, I was glad that I had more time for my friends and family that I didn't have before when I was staying in the office until 9pm on some nights, but on the other hand, I was scared, upset, and felt like a failure. I cried A LOT. I still don't have my command sponsorship approved which means that for now, I'm still not allowed to apply for any jobs. I have been unemployed for a year now, which is the longest that I have ever gone without a job.
My 5 year reunion is coming up and I see all of my friends who are married, have jobs, have children, and some of whom are going for advanced degrees. I don't want children by any means, but all of my friends here have children. Plural. People hear my age and they automatically ask how old my kids are and if I want to have playdates because they automatically assume we have kids at our age. I met a 22 year old not too long ago who already has 3 children. I just feel insignificant around all of them and all of my friends who have accomplished more than I have at this point in their ages. (I do realize that I should take this with a grain of salt- a friend recently confided in me that she is jealous because without kids, TLS and I are able to travel around Europe on a whim, and she and her husband have not been able to do that because of their children- it's too difficult with strollers, etc. and far to expensive.)
After the wedding, my plan is to take online classes to finish my degree. My worry is that with that, my job prospects will still be limited. Finding a job on base is hard. People wait over a year to get a job, but I guess one out of two ain't bad.
Sorry for turning this into an emotional rant, but I've been an emotional wreck today and have needed to get it off my chest. I'm turning 28 this summer, which feels too old to be so unaccomplished. So I've decided that I'm turning 24 instead, that way I'm still in in my early twenties.