This oft-repeated cautionary phrase, best known from “How I Met Your Mother,” probably rings true for much of my life. Lack of sleep tends to cloud my judgment of acceptable social norms after 2am and you can find me posting super emo lyrics or weird Instagrams of my cat when I’m alone in my room, or making poor social choices with friends or boys if I happen to be acting like a twentysomething and am hanging out with people roughly my age.
Tonight is one of those nights I’m alone, of course, because it’s almost 3am on a work night. And I can’t sleep. Why? No idea. I had a busy day. Though I worked from home, it was productive. I stayed on top of stuff coming in from the office while also completing two assignments for grad school and getting a 3+ mile treadmill run in at the gym.
I’m gonna be real right now, which is probably the thing I’ll regret tomorrow, getting real on my normally light and fluffy running adventure blog. I’ve been having a downer of a week. I’m stressed to the max and feeling a bit less like a champ than I’d like to feel when I’ve got a lot on my plate.
I feel old.
And I’m not sure how I feel about feeling old.
A few years ago I was twenty-one, graduating college, and felt way too young to be taking on big-girl adult life, with an office job and bills to pay and a serious relationship and should I get an apartment? and should I travel more? and should I be saving for a house one day? and should I be dating around? and why the hell did I major in the arts?
Now, at twenty-five, I feel old all of the sudden. I feel older than 25. I feel like a curmudgeon, distrustful of new people, tired of smiling and dumbing myself down to make other people feel less threatened or put off. I feel tired at the idea of going out and doing something social because “that’s what I should be doing because I’m in my twenties.” I feel like I have to ask permission if it’s okay if I just hang out with my cat. And I feel like by even mentioning the word “cat” it says it all.
I am really bad at being a twentysomething. I’m tired of it. I feel old and tired.
For the last week I’ve been quietly trying to shut up the oncoming stress attacks about juggling finishing grad school and working full-time at a job I love but that I feel like I’m not reaching my full potential at. I feel tired from grad school. I feel tired from having a fucked up sleep schedule. I feel tired because my fucked up sleep schedule leads me to sleep in too late in the mornings to fix myself up nice for work, which makes me feel even less impressive in my workplace. When I manage to see friends, it’s like, a miracle.
Maybe all this will go away when my Master’s degree is finished and I’m off to Disneyland. But by then I’ll be 26.
I’m tired of DC. It’s grown old. I’m over the non-culture here. I’m sorry, to those of you with tried and true DC pride. But to me DC has no charm and no authenticity as a city. Nor do the suburbs just outside it that I’ve lived in my whole life.
There are things to do that pique my nerdy, introverted interest in this town that I haven’t tried yet. I’m confident I can make it work for me almost anywhere. I’d like to pick my guitar back up and actually learn songs, not just random chords. I’d like to dust off my Spanish and my French and go to conversation clubs. I’d like to find a book club with people I actually connect with, not lonely old ladies, a demographic I will probably become one day, nor pretentious jerks, a demographic DC does not lack in the slightest. I’d like to have close friends I can say “Hey, want to run this 8K race with me on Saturday?” to over noodles instead of making a whole plan of it.
I guess I’m lonely. And anyone who’s been paying attention probably isn’t surprised. I am often overly busy and my stress-level and bullshit tolerance level has made me fairly off-putting to people who don’t know me, and even people who do, who reach a threshold with me.
I think sometimes I took up running not to feel better, not to prove to myself I could do something I didn’t think I could do before, not to learn how to love my body, but to literally run away. I have run every day in a row for the past 7 days without cross-training, and that’s even with grad school on top of work. Granted, it’s easier to lace up my shoes and run up and down my street for 45 minutes than to drive out to a bar and spend money to eat with friends, but if I have the time to workout every day, I have the time to connect with people.
I think I’ve been running away from the things weighing on my heart. I don’t make a secret of my depression and anxiety, but I think there have been things I’ve done and had done to me that I’ve been trying to forget and not confront. Which is funny, because usually I’m a huge advocate of confronting what’s bothering you and making peace with it. Easier to give that advice than to take it, I suppose.
But on Monday when I thought I was about to pull my hair out from an assignment for school and feelings of insecurity and low self-worth, the only thing I could think to do was to go to the gym and run for as long as I could.
I would have kept going, but the treadmills were all filled up and I was getting pointed glares for taking too long.
And I felt better! And then I didn’t anymore.
Maybe all this will go away when I turn in that last grad school assignment.
But right now I feel about a hundred years old and wondering what it is I’ve been running from exactly. I could name a million things, but would it really be all of them?
I’ll end it here before I really get too emo. I’ll probably delete this tomorrow (today), because nothing is a good idea after 2am.