Friday morning was rough. I had an interview later in the day that I wasn't 100% prepared for or excited about. And while I am typically a throw-on-some-shit-in-two-seconds-and-brush-my-teeth type of gal, I took forty-five-minutes to settle on a damn outfit Friday morning. Luckily it was 45 minutes I had, but it was 45 minutes I could had spent, like, eating breakfast, or reading the paper, or taking my dog on a longer walk. Instead I started tossing clothes onto my bed like a madwoman after each and every one either didn't fit or made me feel uncomfortable and gross, because I have become fat, or at least fatter than I was two years ago, and I don't necessarily see fat as a bad word so it's fine, but each one was like NO NO NO. Because going into an interview, you want to look cute. Each time I had an idea of an item of clothing that could possibly fit the feeling-cute bill, if it didn't fall into the NO NO NO category, I discovered that it was in fact crumpled in a heap beside/underneath my bed, every square inch of wrinkle covered in an impressive array of animal hair. The shoes I thought I could wear were lying underneath my sneakers on the shoe rack, covered in cobwebs and cat vomit that appeared to be centuries old and fully cemented. Add on top of this my conflicted feelings about this interview in the first place and what it signifies for my life, and it was just not a good scene.
A few hours later, as I worked at the library and was really enjoying my shift at the library, I glanced at myself in the full length mirror in the bathroom and discovered that what I ended up with did, in fact, look cute. A patron complimented my hair even though it's been at least a month since my last cut and I barely brush it in the mornings. Another library volunteer brought in shortbread cookies and I ate at least five. Things were looking up. As I made my way to the interview, I felt like I wanted to puke and my hands became clammy and my heart beat too fast and all the other awful things that happen to you at interviews, and I worried that my shirt was riding up over my fat ass, and that you could see my cleavage through my second-shirt-layer, and I reminded myself once again that I hadn't really prepared for this at all, and then I went into the room with the two women. And I realized that most of the questions were similar to the questions at all the other interviews I had this summer for jobs I didn't get, and that all that failure actually helped me at that moment, because suddenly I was calm. I gave the same answers I'd already given multiple times to other interviewers, but suddenly they came out the way they sounded in my head. I worried that at points I was getting rambly, but perhaps it was just because I had a lot to say about it all, and my brain was actually allowing me to say it. They seemed to have positive feedback about my answers, and at the end of it, I said, I am patient and compassionate. And those two things are important. I can be an asset in this, because of this and that and this. And as I walked back to my car, I still felt totally neutral about whether they would call me back or not, but I felt this huge sense of relief for myself. That I actually sold myself like I know I should sell myself. Because I am patient and compassionate. Because I can be asset. And I do care about this thing, even if I am constantly conflicted about whether this thing is the right thing because I also care about so many other things and my heart can never settle on one, so that even at age 30, I am still tussling around, scraping by, forever unsettled.
Then I went home and I made a good dinner and I watched TV with Kathy and I cleaned the house like a madwoman for my dad's arrival the next day and I felt happy because I love doing all those things and I am so lucky to be able to do all of them.
And I realized at the end of the day, this day-after-I-turned-30, that this is probably what my 30s will be like. I will spend 25% of my day feeling like a complete failure at being a grown up, in a hazy space where I don't have the right clothes or the right job or health insurance or savings or a solid writing routine or exercise plan or diet or sufficient motivation. But the rest of the 75%, I will feel pretty damn good. I will care about things and do things that I am proud of and at the end of the day I will still be so, so happy because I love my apartment and I love my animals and I love Kathy and I love my things and I like the way I fill up almost all of my seconds of breathing. And maybe some days it will be off; I'll feel 90% fuck up all day, or 100% Killing It At Life all day, but the overall mean will still be the same. So in other words, it will be pretty similar to my 20s. But maybe with a slightly altered percentage. Maybe it will actually be more like 15% fuck up, 85% proud. And maybe within those numbers, it will also be slightly less selfish.
I made goals for the Year 30 benchmark over the last decade, although not huge ones in the long run: to have a "real job," to travel to places I didn't travel. And part of my mind is just transferring those goals over, to do all those things before Year 40, if I'm lucky enough to make it that far, but really I think just the goal of sticking with that percentage is okay. Because that percentage is really a rather good place to be.