I’d say we’re in limbo again, but I’m ever so slowly realizing that adulthood is anything but stable and always in limbo. Becoming a responsible adult is the easy part; the hard part is managing constant change and uncertainty. There will never be employment that is a sure thing for life, and I don’t know why I was always working towards that, anyway. Wouldn’t that be dull?
I have been working as a Communications Specialist and an Audio Specialist since September and December, respectively. The former has been quite difficult, and has filled me with both more doubt about myself (and my work ethic) while also filling me with assured-ness of not wanting to do it for the rest of my life. I am just not the type to run after the virality of a post every day, and that’s okay, because there are people out there who live and breathe all that.
The latter position has been a wonderful experience, and I get to listen to strange and wonderful things every day, and learn more about the best quality capture and sticky shed and splicing. I don’t really know what it means for the future, but I’m giving up on that line of thought. All I can really do for sure is follow experiences, and meet new people, and gather up opportunities, and hope for the best. And that I will be able to always pay rent. That is just as important as being content with my work, don’t you think?
We took a much-needed trip back to California in February. I would say vacation, and it was a vacation from the two jobs I hold, but it didn’t feel very relaxing. Derek and I are getting married in Berkeley in October, so the week was crammed with wedding appointments. By the afternoon I’d feel so spent and done, but then we’d meet with friends. Before each meeting I’d have to give myself a pep talk: “You want to be social! You want to see people you haven’t seen for over a year! You DON’T want a nap!”
The trip made me sad as well as tired. If we revisit this theme of limbo of adulthood, I can not only apply that to job status but to our home. The last six months dealt us such strong homesickness and such a yearning to live back in the Bay, to say goodbye to the Midwest because we thought we were pretty much done (and not only because I’m losing one of my jobs in May, which yes, was unexpected and yes, did pull the rug from under our feet again, but why was I even surprised?). I felt so full when we flew in over the Bay, and so happy when we drove back into Berkeley. It was so familiar; little things had changed but pretty much it was the way we left it.
Except that: we felt like tourists. There are so many new apartment buildings going up, and it’s obvious we sure as hell can’t afford them. Two of our friends couldn’t say anything good about it anymore and can’t wait to move up the coast. They were paying the same rent for a small one bedroom that we pay for our huge, beautiful, hardwood floor covered 3-bedroom apartment in Madison. The same kind of bougey restaurants are going up all over town. Oakland felt the same way in some parts. It looks like the tech industry of San Francisco is really spilling into the East Bay now. Not that the East Bay wasn’t expensive before — if you wanted your own room, you had to cough up $800 at the very least — but it felt so much less accessible this time.
It makes me so sad. And angry. I hate that so many people who have lived there for a long time are being pushed out so all these software developers of banal, stupid apps can come in. Fine, I like my shower clock app that repeats the time to me, I like browsing through my Pinterest app, I like my to do list app. But I don’t think these kind of things deserve lots of money in return. I know it’s a tired argument, but why does someone who develops an app that will likely be gone in 5 years get paid more than a teacher who will change a student’s entire life?
Derek and I talked to each other on the plane ride home with this enormously hard truth on our shoulders: we don’t think we could make it in the Bay anymore. The idea of living in the Central Valley sounds completely 100% awful, commuting for even 30 minutes in East Bay traffic sounds just as horrendous, and I don’t know if I still want to pay a ton of money to live somewhere a little more affordable like El Cerrito but without all the charm of Berkeley.
I just didn’t expect this.
We don’t have to think about it for a while, anyway, I suppose — we have decided to stay in Madison another year as more sonic opportunities crop up for me. And after that, now we’re looking at the central coast, where I grew up … which really doesn’t sound all that bad anymore, considering rich hipster douchebags won’t clog it up as much. (Tell us how you really feel, Dana) Anyway, maybe we can find a home in there someday.
Bowing out for now. Generally, life is good. The cats are sleepy and the peppermint brownies I just made are calling.