On Adele and Having It All

 

My apartment is kind ofnice. I bought these matching Gordon Ramsey dishes. I re-covered my great aunt’s sofa with this really nice gray fabric so it looks like you could’ve bought it at Urban Outfitters, instead of inheriting it from her when she moved into a nursing home. But I didn’t buy it at Urban Outfitters because I’m a responsible consumer. In fact, responsible is really my definitive adjective. I have a dog that I feed and keep vaccinated. I take her on walks, and if I can’t take her on walks I pay for doggie day care. I have a goddamn 401k. My parents are proud of me.

So what, then? Do I just revel in the satisfaction that I’ve made it? That I’ve completed the post-grad dream. I did it all just like I should have. I’ve made every responsible decision, and my irresponsible decisions are laughable. Like, when I drank too much and danced to “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” at a piano bar, truly living. The other day I choked on a mucinex. So where do we go from here?  Do we find love? Do we roll in the deep Adele? Are friendships and relationships enough to get satisfaction out of life? Or is there something else, should I be at bible study? Is putting on “The Stranger” and drinking scotch on the rocks enough of a bible study?

I don’t know. I don’t have an answer. I don’t think there is one. I think we just have to find satisfaction wherever we find satisfaction. My college roommate could always tell when I was teetering on the brink of emotional collapse, and she’d bring me junior mints and a dr. pepper. Unfortunately, my aging metabolism could barely tolerate that kind of blatant disregard for basic health and wellness now, but it’s still a small thing that I find comfort in. When I’m stressed, when I’m worried, when I feel like I’m spiraling, I just ask myself, what little thing would make me happy right now? I’m a complete weirdo, so sometimes it’s an episode of Criminal Minds, or some Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, or a lit candle and a book.

I’m a millenial. We lived through 9/11 and the financial collapse. Our war is against the generation before us. We don’t have any real answers. We all had to read Catch-22 and Fahrenheit 451 for school, so we think we get it. Then we read Ta- Nehisi Coates and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for book club, and we thought we were woke. But are we? Were the first generation to carry a little computer around in our goddamn pockets. I can find out the dates of every Civil War battle in the time it would’ve taken my mom to even think about going to the library. Are we doing anything with this? Are we just tweeting things out into the void? Is it even our responsibility to do anything with this?  So, we do our best, and we ask what we can do right now, and we take a breath. And we have the thing that makes us happy. And we figure out slowly whatever that is. And we go on.

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