I moved again today. It was the fourth (fourth-and-a-half?) time in the past year. Since moving from Chicago to D.C. in March, I’ve slowly made my way along the red line–Van Ness, Dupont Circle, Takoma, and now Brookland (my first place in the NE quadrant–so hip, this gal!).
The move itself went smoothly. Almost alarmingly so. But after a particularly distressing moving-related incident in September, when I locked my new house key in the rental car AFTER depositing the car keys in the check-out box, after-hours on the day before Labor Day, and had to waste $200 I really couldn’t (and still can’t) afford in order to retrieve my house keys, I wasn’t taking any chances. So the day proceeded without any major snafus–the snow even waited to start falling until I had settled into my new room–and I’m here in the beautiful, century-old home of a very kind artist, with an assortment of other 20-somethings. I have a queen-size bed (an upgrade from the previous twin), my own sink, and an antique grandfather clock chiming downstairs every half-hour. I like the place so far.
Unlike my last moving day, which left me feeling so defeated and unaccomplished and directionless (Why don’t I have a real job yet? Why can’t I afford my own place? Wouldn’t this be so much easier if I had a boyfriend to help me?), I took this day as an opportunity to appreciate that I am kinda-sorta independent. I’m not totally helpless; I found the place on my own, rented the car on my own, drove all of my stuff around without killing anyone. Single ladies doing it for themselves! And while these may seem like basic, foundational things that any 25-year-old should be capable of doing, I’m forcing myself to see them as signs that I’m not doomed to a life of dependency.
My sister is lightyears ahead of me in so many ways. At my age, she was married and had an enviable job; now she’s added a house and two dogs into the mix. She’s a real capital-A Adult. And one night over the holidays, as I marveled at how different our respective 25-year-old selves are, she said, “Yeah, I grew up fast.”
By that logic, I am growing up very slowly.
I know, I know: We all follow different paths in life. I picked a very convoluted, windy one that sometimes doubles back on itself and takes off into dead ends. And I know by saying all of this, I’m just repeating what I’ve been saying for the past three years, during which all it seems I’ve done is frantically look for a job, or an apartment, or a date. (Exhausting, fruitless searches, all of them.) I hope this year is different. I hope this is the year things take a step forward. I understand I may never really get out of this situation–my generation isn’t guaranteed a spot in the upper (or even middle) class, no matter how hard we work for it. The Horatio Alger allegory doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. And depending on what your definition of an Adult is, I may never be that, either.
So, when a simple move to a new sublet brings up so much anxiety about where I’m at in life, it helps to remind myself of this fact, however silly the accomplishment seems to others: Today I drove a car for the first time in months, and no one died.