23 years is not an extraordinarily long time. It’s not enough time to grow a big redwood tree, it isn’t long enough to allow you to rent a car or run for president, and it’s barely enough time to qualify you as an adult. One thing that 23 years is long enough for, however, is to teach me a very important concept: Chinese food and a martini is the perfect way to wash away a stressful week.
There’s something about this combination that ushers in the kind of full-bellied contentment that can make any troubles seem a little more distant. I’m not going to lie to you, the economic troubles that are plaguing our nation have been very close to home lately. Wes and I have spent a lot of time discussing the bailout, our options, and how our plans for the future might be impacted.
We are both decidedly anti-bailout (and Wes has spent hours on the phone this week making sure our state’s representatives know that) and when I found out that the House passed the bailout yesterday it was an unpleasant moment.
If I had to pick one dominant emotion at that moment, it was disillusionment. Disillusionment that, though most economic and financial experts predicted that the bailout wouldn’t work, the special interest groups and powers-that-be were able to shove a piece of legislation into law against the wishes of the nation they were supposed to be representing.
I wonder if this feeling, that sometimes bad things happen that aren’t fair and don’t make sense but it’s a part of life so deal with it, is part of growing up. I wonder if disillusionment is a necessary precursor to either being mature or jaded. Surely I won’t last very long in this day and age if I continue to get so upset about everyday things, so perhaps it’s in my best interest to grow a thicker skin/care a little less.
Also, even though I know it’s useless, I can’t help but obsess about what this bailout decision is going to mean for our future. Someone asked me yesterday what my number one fear was, and I was startled by how easily I was able to articulate it:
My number one fear is that I won’t be able to have children because we can’t afford it, or, we’ll have children but I’ll never see them because I’ll have to keep working 50 hour weeks in order to support them.
Everyone keeps telling me not to worry because I’m so young, that I have plenty of time so relax! My response to this can only be that no one stays young forever. Sooner or later I won’t be so young anymore, and at that time things may or may not be any better than they are right now.
***Cue the kicking, stomping, and gnashing of teeth***
As mopey as I am, though, the little adult in my ear is telling me that now’s the time to pick myself off, put on my butt-kicking shoes, and press on. Pity parties are nice for a moment, but it feels much better to decide to persevere and work as hard as possible to make sure that everything really does turn out fine.
I’m going to keep working 50 hour weeks, we’re going to continue living like paupers and squirreling away extra money like chipmunks in a chestnut factory, and I have faith that eventually everything really will be fine.
We may not ever have the American Dream (mortgage paid off, vacations twice a year, stay-at-home mother to 2.5 kids with dinner on the table at 6pm, and retirement at 65) but with some planning and hard work now, maybe we can still attain the pieces that are the most important to us.