Is this what life is? Is it a constant struggle until it stops? For better or worse? Is it back-breaking, insufferable misery until someone who didn’t have to work for it gets your blood, sweat and tears exchanged for gold? Money? Dollar bills? Paper.
If I could just have one thing it would be for life to make sense. Because right now it doesn’t. All the time it’s senseless. I’m more than 23 years old. And after that it’s just older and older. I’m 23 years and 2 months old. In 10 months I’ll be 24. And in 22 months I’ll be 25. In 82 months I’ll be 30. And what’ll I have accomplished?
This isn’t the way life was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a movie you never wanted to end. It was supposed to be a blur of light and color and sun on a postcard. And magic and quiet and peaceful bliss. I was supposed to belong. Get a job at 14. Work through summers as a high-schooler. Wreckless fun in my youth, careless teenager-dom while I had it. By 18 I was supposed to have had 4 years of work under my belt, and more ready to be taken on. By 22, 4 years of college with countless open doors, year-long internships, fellowships and associate stints. Working steadily, independently and leading a life on my own by 21. A young independent successful first-world specimen.
Instead I graduated at 23. Living at home, with my parents and sister. No honors, no job prospects, no accomplishments or success to speak of. I flailed through high school without grace or dignity, and certainly no fond memories made along the way. Penniless, wayward, desperate and sad, I sat eating cup of noodles during my summer vacation days and whiling away the light hours in a kitchen watching reruns of bad sitcoms. I couldn’t find a job - nobody wanted me. In the 21st century of hustle bustle and the New York City elite, a rakish teenager offered nothing whatsoever to be desired. Years passed and friends got older, wiser, richer, happier. I got lonelier, sadder, more disappointed and heartbroken. College was a disaster that never liked me, but still it kept me as long as it could. I graduated 7 months later than everyone else with a GPA so low I could never go to grad school. But the months didn’t matter, it was the year that mattered. 2013 instead of 2012. A different school than where I started. A different class than the one of my twin sister’s. A different life than the one that was mine.
The months passed after December, until late February, and the fibbing began. My Graduation date got later. The months blended and I had nowhere to go. February turned to March, March turned to April, April turned to May and May turned to June. Then I got a chance. The first paycheck came in, and wow. This is what it felt like to be me. Better (really) late then never, and Sweet relief. June turned to July, but before I knew it, July was over. And August was here. And with August came the slamming sound of goodbye. The future was taken from the tips of my fingers and I landed on nothing but falling ground beneath me. Falling, falling. Until Mid-August was here. And I sat sitting at this keyboard with everything to fear. And a $10,000 check that was never mine.