I turned 29 a little over a week ago. Lest you think this will a post mourning the loss of my early and mid-twenties and how I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into concrete, unalterable adulthood, calm your nerves (particularly any of my older readers, who'd likely be rolling your eyes at my youngin' blues:), it's not. In fact, my birthday was pretty sedate--I laid in bed most of day watching my favorite movies--Clueless plus cinnamon rolls equals magic--went to visit my family, one of my close friends and collected a homemade sweet potato pie (bump a Patti Pie--c'mon on Patti!) and went out to eat with the boyfriend a Vietnamese restaurant. All in all, a pretty good day.
However, I can't pretend being one year shy of 30 hasn't got me to thinking. And really, the feelings I've been having have been bubbling up for weeks before my birthday, specifically about my current job. Over the last few months, there have hirings, promotions and personnel changes galore, which if you've worked any job for an extended period of time, always leads to changes in the workplace atmosphere. Though the change in mood I'm experiencing was brought on in part by a comment made to me by a department head during a meeting, while talking about how we should all approach our jobs in the coming year with a new way of thinking, one that is passionate, flexible and open-minded. Which in my case specifically meant being open to the possibility of working a different position.
It was short remark, one not delivered with an attitude or malice or any intent to reprimand (at least none that I could detect) but it's nonetheless had a lasting effect on my emotional state of mind. I've found myself sliding into a funk for the last couple of weeks. It always hits at random times, like while I'm at my desk, or editing video and letting my mind drift. I manage to push it away by focusing on the tasks at hand, but I recognize the feeling. That old burning sensation, a tense, uncomfortable fire shut up in the center of my chest; the same one that ignited every time I entered a church for rehearsal in my last days as a church musician.
I hate that it's there, because I truly like my job. It has nothing to do with the people I work with, or any office politics, but everything to do with me. I love being 29. I love who I am at 29; I feel stronger of sense self, am more confident in what I believe, am more settled in my personal life--believe me the last thing I want is to return to the chaos of my late teens/very early 20's. But standing at the edge of 20-something means watching new kids come in fresh out of college, and others I've worked with for years get promoted to higher ranking, senior positions. I don't feel insecure about my position, nor do I feel any jealously towards my co-workers for climbing higher up the ladder; mostly because I don't want their jobs. Any of them. None of them interest me in the slightest.
At 29, I'm self-aware enough to know striving for and accepting a promotion I really don't give two shits about would eventually blow up in my face--a lesson I learned at 21 via a church choir disaster (maybe I'll spill some of that tea at a later date). But I'm also aware enough to know if I don't want to climb to the mountain top, others definitely do, and at some point, I'll be left at base camp.
At the same time, I'm essentially still in the early stages of carving out dual careers as both DJ/producer, and fiction author, which, barring some huge, motherfuckin' Thor-sized lightning strike of luck, is going to take time (i.e years) to build. And as to how successful my creative life will be, who's to say? Will I be flying around the world on private jet to do some two-hour set in Ibiza for the latest stop on a headlining, international tour in between national novel releases? Or will I be a local or regional artist, stringing performances together in hole-in-the-walls and bars, backyard parties and casinos in my hometown and the surrounding cities, and pushing my fiction at writer's conferences, hoping my fifth or sixth novel will be my breakthrough?
I'm coming to the realization that for all my efforts, I may not get what to do what I want to do. Or if I do achieve what I want, it won't look exactly as I pictured it. If at all. The longer I pour my drive and ambition into my creative life, the bigger chance I have to make writing and music my full-time jobs. However, it's equally likely I could look back years from now, having come up empty and settling into the reality that my dreams will only be hobbies or part-time pursuits.
I'm grateful for the clarity the years have brought me--which don't get me wrong, I'm not Aesop--yet at the same time the clarity they've brought has made it damn near impossible for me to fool myself about the realities of my situation or indulge delusions of grandeur.
That's ultimately a good thing. But it's also got me fucked up.