I've been thinking a lot this year about life expectations. I always expected that I would graduate college, find a job I loved right out of school, be ridiculously successful and fabulous at it and make a good living supporting my now-husband as he finished his million years of schooling. And now that we're here, I've been trying not to set expectations for any future phase of our lives, because a) for the first time ever, I'm not sure what my expectations for my 20s are supposed to be, and b) I keep being disappointed when reality doesn't live up to my perfect picture of How Things Should Be. A few weeks ago, Matt commented, "I expected that by age 25, with two bachelor's degrees and a master's between us, we would be bringing in like, (salary) a year." Which we are nowhere close to, thanks and gig 'em.*
For a hot minute, I felt really depressed, like it was my fault for trying something new and not being an overnight success; that our inability to "live the American dream" right this second was somehow my burden to bear. Until I realized that almost everyone I know in our demographic is struggling with the same issues: crippling student loans, credit card debt, childcare expenses, unemployment, the never-ending costs of home-ownership; deferring dreams in exchange for monetary stability.
I keep coming back to the same question: How can we be as successful as our parents' and grandparents' generations were, when all the rules of the game have changed?
Or maybe they haven't changed, and I just don't understand how to win the game yet, if it's possible at all.
How do you define success? What did you think life would be like at 16? 22? 30?
*I declare that I can say "gig 'em" this week because I was mistaken for an Aggie at a wedding we went to last weekend. That means I've lived here too long.