"While unemployment affects one's

"While unemployment affects one's approach to dating, it also affects one's general outlook on life. The other day, a friend of mine said that she believes many people in our generation are in an early mid-life crisis. Upon graduating from college, many of us were able to quickly find a job that paid decently regardless of whether it was something we really wanted to do. Now that no one can find a job, people are forced to think about what they really want from life and what will truly make them happy."

And how! I think even before my unemployment last fall I was considering this question. My big problem seems to be that I want things that are diametrically opposed. I want to buy a house and get a dog. I want to pull up stakes and see the world. Should I stay or should I go? I want both, dammit.

I look around and despite what the census report released in June of 2001 says, people my age and younger are settling down and buying houses. In the next two months, I am going to two weddings. Two of my best friends from high school have been married for a couple of years now. Three of my former co-workers are in various stages of engagement and wedding planning. Two of my former co-workers are in the process of buying houses. I also got word through the grapevine that my last ex is now engaged. That is a lot of settling down.

On the flip side, one of my dearest friends is in France, teaching English. Previous to that she spent the summer in England. While in Europe she has taken side trips to Spain and Greece, and will soon be adding Italy to that list. Even as her teaching contract comes close to its end, she contemplates were to go next. Poland? Australia? More France? The world is her playground and, in spite of missing peanut butter and mac 'n' cheese, she is terribly happy. Other friends and acquaintances have spent time in Japan, Germany, Puerto Rico, and China. Even the updates in Lori McCleese's blog are a reminder that my generation has many wanderers.

So here I am, stuck in the middle.

I despise renting. The whole process bores and disgusts me. The searching, the constant moving, the questionable landlords, the rules and regulations, the security deposits, and most of all, the monthly payments that go absolutely nowhere. No matter how much rent you pay, there is always another payment due. Very few landlords in my city allow tenants to own dogs. Of those that do allow dogs, even fewer are renting apartments in which I would feel comfortable keeping a dog, much less myself. However, buying a house does not seem to be in the cards right now.

An article about homebuying for 20-somethings stated that their calculations were, "based on a hypothetical college grad’s starting pay of $40,000." Say what? I've been out of college for three years now, and only broke the $20,000 mark once. I checked with my credit union and with WHEDA and based on their calculationsI can afford to buy a cemetary plot and pitch a pup tent on the land.

On the travel front, the main things holding me back are finances and personal wussiness. I have had my passport for twp years now, just long enough for me to look nothing like my picture. It sits quietly in a drawer, as clean and unmarked as the day I got it. I can't afford to take a travel vacation and I never seem to win any "get-away" contests, so short-term travel is out. What that leaves is either joining the Peace Corps as UW-Madison grads are wont to do or take a job teaching English. The Peace Corps is a two year commitment, and most jobs teaching English overseas require a one-year contract. That is a long time. While I want to see the world, the thought of leaving behind everyone I know and love to spend a year among strangers whose languageI can not even speak leaves me cold. MaybeI can find a middle ground. Or maybe this is another fire tower for me to climb.

*sigh* I think I am chasing my tail right now. Time to go the the gym and clear my head.

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This page contains a single entry by Kayjayoh published on March 17, 2002 6:10 PM.

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