After a month, I had a much-needed brunch date with my best friend Shelia. I’ve written about her before (re: Living Vicariously Through A Single, Twenty-Something Black Widow). Aside from the single mother’s network I’ve cultivated online, she is one of the most emotionally strong individuals I know.
She is dating this guy, Ollie, who seems to have a sensitivity chip missing by making her take the walk of shame after their midnight rendezvous and his no-condom policy (as if my story wasn’t a cautionary tale). His only redeeming qualities are that he is an avid reader, tennis sparring partner and ambitious. All VERY important qualities to Shelia. She is currently trying to decide whether she should leave her cushy job in Maryland and pursue an MBA full-time in Boston or defer for a year and collect a promotion. Either way, the last thing she needs is someone to keep her from fulfilling her dreams.
We talked about our quarter life crisis, something indicative of our generation. It made us question if we were where we thought we should be in our late twenties. Are we happy? Do we have purpose? What’s our life’s plan? In generations past, it was expected that young adults would to toil in jobs for years, just waiting for time to pass before they “paid their dues” and were promoted to the upper echelons. Millennials (oh how I hate that label) want to make an impact NOW. The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have unintentionally set precedents on defining how successful young professionals should be in their twenties. I feel that pressure everyday. Am I doing enough? Could I be doing more? Achieving more? I feel that women in this category have even more hurdles to overcome (i.e. wage inequality, traditional role expectations, the blasphemy of feminism, etc.)
Because I am a single mom, I keep trying to put it all in perspective, however I hate feeling limited. I can only juggle so much grad school, a career, dating and hobbies, like writing, in between. After having Andrew, I feel less of a pull to have the white picket fence, a dog, a husband and 1.5 kids ideal (I have 1/2 of the equation). Is it possible to be fulfilled when some of those traditional pieces are missing?
As my mom would say…only time will tell. In the interim, I will press on hoping the future will sort through these unknowns.