A Teen In Her Twenties

There is something about myself I cannot stop laughing at.

When I was a teenager, my family constantly told me I wasn’t a normal teen. “Normal” teenagers hang out at the mall with their friends every weekend and normal 20-year-olds hang out into the early hours of the morning every night. I stayed indoors, keeping to myself as I played video games, watched television, and browsed the internet. Not an exciting life, but a quiet one. Interestingly, they never answered the question of where a jobless teenager would get the money for weekly shopping trips.

However, I am 23 and I am now more of a “normal” teenager than I ever was during my teen years.

  • I do shop. A lot. Granted, this is mostly due to getting an employee discount from the store I work, but I shop plenty at other stores too, mostly online. I am getting control of this habit now, but when I first got my job and, later on, my credit line, it was crazy.
  • I have a boyfriend. More so, I have a secret boyfriend. Hiding who you’re dating from your family is definitely a teenage thing!
  • While I don’t have a group of friends, I do have one best friend I hang out with when our schedules allow it. We don’t hang around at the mall, but we do hang around each other’s houses and watch anime together.
  • I have a lot more drama now than I did in high school, and at one point, that did include jealousy and boy drama, a problem I never had in high school!
  • I go out a lot, even when I don’t work. My days off are taken by my boyfriend, my best friend, or errands I’m trying to get done. It’s to the point my family now occasionally complains I’m not home enough whereas they used to complain I stayed in too much.
  • I’m more social at work than I was at school. I talk to new co-workers without shyness and while I would only call one or two of them friends, I easily get along with almost everyone.

Of course, having a job is the reason behind most of this. I shopped because I have money to shop with. I have money for transportation. And I can still save up money by budgeting and not losing my mind. Somehow, having a job has done a lot for my self-confidence in more than only work-related aspects.

I know being a “23-year-old teenager” isn’t really something to brag about, but it makes me curious about how I’ll be when I’m in my late twenties. I can’t say I’d be unhappy with a life that has my “sister”, the love of my life, and some shopping and hanging out mixed in with everything else I enjoy in life.

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I’ll Be Stronger

Right now, as I’m typing this, I’m lying next to my boyfriend while he sleeps. I requested two days off for our anniversary, but I was somehow lucky enough to receive four straight days off. It’s peaceful, and the only sound is the air conditioner he seemingly can’t sleep without. Fortunately, he also has blankets.

I keep thinking “I could get used to this”. I imagine times like these as a preview of what our life would be like if we lived together. Of course, I won’t overstay my welcome and I am leaving tomorrow evening. Four days off just isn’t a daily opportunity. I wanted to use it wisely, and he agreed.

However, while I’m quietly playing on my phone to let him nap, I keep thinking about how things could’ve been so different. I think about how I’m trying to pave a path for my life. I remember when I was so afraid of adulthood, yet it gets better with each passing year.

What if I listened to my family, the people who want nothing more than for me to be blindly compliant and stay locked in a gilded cage? What if I followed in my mother’s footsteps, and had a child at 21 or 22? What if I gave in to the worst years of my life and cut my life off before I reached 20?

The truth is it’s an alternate reality that terrifies me. I really don’t know why since it’s clearly not my reality, but it’s what I’d make a horror novel out of.

Writing posts like these makes me feel like a braggart, but since it’s only recently I’ve genuinely been happy with my life, I’d rather write my positive emotions than endlessly complain. My family set the bar low, and once I was out of the childhood safety of fantasy, I never believed I could do any better. Now, I know I can. It’s not going in a standard fashion. I’ve definitely made some mistakes and it will take a while for me to really get where I’m aiming. But I can do it, and I’m not going to be like my family.

I’m unsure if this is a way of saying I am better than them. I don’t believe I am better. I believe I can do better. Although, I do believe I’m better than a lifelong cheating, abusive when drunk, self-centered alcoholic, but I imagine most people would think they’re better than that.

Credit: A Necessary Evil

Lately, I’ve been researching credit cards and companies because my credit file is nearly non-existent. As much as that sucks because it makes some things harder, I think I’d rather put up with the lack of credit than deal with a credit card.

From what I’ve found, most of these companies are terrible, especially big ones like Capital One, which was full of reviews about how their customer service sucks and they’re terrible at handling fraud. I’ve had my debit card receive fraudulent charges before, so knowing how that would be handled is very important. Thankfully, it’s only happened twice, and each time, I was not held accountable for the charges and the matter was rectified immediately. Hell will freeze over before I do business with any company that would hold me responsible for something that isn’t my fault.

Aside from bad experiences, some of the requirements for these cards sound dangerous. Since my credit is close to none, I could only ever have a secured credit card, which apparently requires a deposit of up to $300. Which does make sense, but worries me for the sole fact that money is no longer mine. Apparently, if you miss even one payment, no matter how small, the company will run off with your deposit. That means the only way to ensure I don’t ever forget the bill is to use automatic payment, and I am not by any means allowing a company I have no trust in at the moment into my bank accounts (if they haven’t already gotten into them, considering a social security number is required to apply for these cards). The only company I have auto-pay set up with is my cell phone provider, and I didn’t even permit that until I’d been with them for at least two years. Also, the only way you get your deposit back (if they don’t run off with it, that is) is if you cancel the card… which will badly affect your credit score. How does that not sound like a trap? “You have to give us your money, but if you leave us, we’ll still damage you.” In short, either way, I’d be backed into a corner and screwed. The choices are stay with this credit company for life, even if I’m not satisfied with them, or take a hit because I dare to leave them. Sounds like an abusive relationship. At this point, I wouldn’t even want an unsecured one, though it’s not like the difference matters to me anyway.

The newest thing I’ve read is spending too much of your credit limit will harm your credit score. I have no intention of making large purchases on credit, but that’s besides the point. The point is you’ll be penalized for spending outside of your credit limit, but also penalized just for getting close to it. Why even have the limit? The point of a limit is “you can’t cross this line”, not “you can’t get this close to this line”. Yet on the flip side, I read about experiences where the credit company unknowingly closed the user’s card for spending too little. So, let’s get this straight. You can’t overspend (which makes perfect sense), you can’t spend too much within the limit, and you can’t spend too far away from the limit. I repeat: How does this not sound like a trap?

On top of that, those negative hits remain on your credit history for seven years. So, if I cancel one credit card to go to another, that first card is still badly affecting my score for over half of a decade later, no matter how well I’m doing with my current card. Or I miss one payment, but never miss another, and that one missed payment is still biting me in the behind for years to come. No times one thousand. Even my job isn’t that unforgiving, and they pay me!

The bottom line is I’d rather continue what I’m doing and stay as far away from credit cards as possible. Yes, I know having no credit history will make some things harder, but I’m not sure making a few things easier is worth trapping myself.

Which Priority Is Which?

I mentioned briefly in my last post I was hoping to move out by my 24th birthday next year. But lately, I’ve been considering postponing that even further.

At 23, I do not have my driver’s license. I’ve wanted it since I turned 18, but I never tried to get it because I didn’t see any point since I’d have no car to drive, and eventually, I forgot about it entirely. Lately, however, it’s been on my mind again due to my job. More specifically, because I’m gaining a growing hatred for public transportation.

The problem here is for the time being, it has to be one or the other: the apartment or the car. I feel like the answer should be obvious, yet I’m having trouble deciding which to make the priority. Both would bring me freedom I crave, but I cannot decide which advantages are worth more.

Advantages of having my own (or willingly shared) apartment:

  • My own living space
  • Living alone, or with my best friend or boyfriend
  • No smoking, drunkenness, and loud noise
  • No one touching my things without my permission (I’m fortunate my boyfriend and my best friend have manners!)
  • Not having to hear gossip or petty complaining
  • Being able to bring my boyfriend to my house almost any time (or my best friend if my boyfriend is my roommate; she’s asthmatic, so I can’t let her come to my family’s apartment)

Advantages of having a car for myself:

  • Not needing to rely on public transportation (except when I travel to visit my boyfriend)
  • More choice in where I can work
  • Less restriction on where I can travel in general
  • Shopping is easier since I don’t need to lug bags on a bus or train (even a bunch of small bags can be a nuisance)
  • More places to go with my best friend and boyfriend (these two awesome people get all the free rides they want!)
  • A small place to go when my family inside wears on my nerves. It’s illegal to live in a car, but not to sit and unwind in it for a while.
  • Aside from an auto accident or something else unforeseen, I’d never have to worry about being late for work because the bus or train is running late (and trains frequently have delays!). I use Lyft’s service in these cases, but their prices fluctuate, so it can get costly.

I’m aware having a car is more than just making monthly payments because there are expenses like repairs and maintenance. Likewise, I realize living by myself or with a roommate in an apartment is more than just the rent, as there are also utilities to pay for. In the case of the car, I still have to get my driver’s license to begin with. Plus, I’m assuming I’ll even be able to find someone to lease an apartment or a car to me (my credit history is nearly non-existent). I fully expect I’ll panic for a period of time and feel like I’m in over my head. But that happens to me with almost everything, so I’m willing to experience that and let it pass.

I’m not sure if I should be deciding which advantages are worth more, or which disadvantages are worth less. I also worry whichever I choose, I’ll regret not taking the other one, but I can’t change my mind on a whim about such a big choice (not without heavy consequences anyway).

I don’t know if this is a sign I’m still trying to fit myself into adulthood, and failing miserably at it, or I’m indecisive and nothing more.

Follow the Timeline

Way back in 2013, I made a timeline starting from 1999 (as far back as I could somewhat remember) of how my life had gone so far. It’s not happy. I can’t remember why I made it, but I suppose it was something that crept into my head during nighttime, when many of my deepest thoughts tend to surface.

With 2013 here, it’s been four years and my life certainly didn’t pause, though I had more moments than I can count of wishing it had. I mistakenly believed things would finally be good at the end of 2013. They weren’t. I don’t want to post the whole timeline here, so I’ll link it, but I will start from the very last one.

  • Age 19 (Birthday-October 2013) – Graduation; move back in with my mom and sis, therapy continues, attendance to college starts, tries to start dating
  • Age 20 (2014-2015) – Move back in with grandparents, drop out from college, job searching
  • Age 21 (2015-2016) – Still job searching, suicidal ideas return, meet my boyfriend
  • Age 22 (Late 2016 to early 2017) – Found a job, begin building my accounts
  • Age 23 (Birthday-Now) – Holding down my job, searching for a second job, continuing to save money, creating plans to move out

Hopefully, I can add I have moved by age 24. I must admit besides a desire to write things out, I’m not sure what the point of this timeline is, but it is nice to look over it and know I’ve lived this far. That’s not to say I’d be willing to do it again. Surviving once feels more than enough because aside from the typical transition to adulthood, no one should have to deal with that. But I’m glad to say I’m getting closer to where I want to be. With a lot of planning and some luck, I may be there by early 2018. That’s still a long time, but we’re already in May of 2017. In another month, the year will be half over. If I can control my spending urges, I shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

Sibling Irony

Something I’ve often heard is that having siblings teaching children how to share.

As an (older) sibling, I can honestly say whoever started that belief deserves to be punched.

Having a sibling did not teach me how to share. It taught me how to hoard and hide my stuff because I didn’t want to share. I hated sharing anything with my sister. I didn’t become better with sharing until I was in my late teens and, ironically, didn’t have to share anymore because someone told me to.

But the effects of having a sibling had already been done and I genuinely feel like having a sibling, and specifically being the older of the two, is what contributed most to my lack of any desire to be a parent.

Like most older siblings, I was often responsible for my sister. I don’t solely mean babysitting. If she did anything wrong, somehow, it was my fault. I was expected to know better because I was the older sibling, but somehow, she never was, no matter how old she got. I was actually aware enough as a kid to point this out, but it’s not like I was ever listened to. The bottom line is I very much resented being given the responsibility of a child I had zero part in bringing into the world, and I’m positive merely being a babysitter a few times would not cause that feeling.

Of course, this varies. Some oldest siblings willingly go on to become parents, and my boyfriend is the youngest of his parents’ three children and doesn’t want kids, despite being the typical “spoiled baby of the family” (until a certain age). This came to my mind because I found it ironic and somewhat hilarious. What was supposed to teach me about sharing and being responsible became the biggest factor in why I want nothing to do with parenthood.

More so, my sister has a rather idealized idea of caring for children. She wants kids of her own someday, and I do not knock her for that, but she knows next to nothing about taking care of someone smaller than her. She once asked me how I couldn’t want kids and while I know this is a question sometimes shared by parents, in this case, it came out of the mouth of a 16-year-old whose closest experience with caring for a child had been looking after a baby doll. That question is annoying, no matter who it comes from, but it makes more sense out of the mouth of someone who is a parent and knows they like the experience than someone who’s never done it. Granted, one could argue I’m not very different in that I’ve never been a parent and am saying it’d be terrible for me.

However, there are two differences here. I’m talking only about myself. I’ve never said no one else shouldn’t want to be a parent. I’m saying nothing more than I don’t. The other is, as I said, my sister has never been responsible for any children, whereas I have, and not just her. I can remember being left to after a small group of daycare children when I was about 8 or under (yes, my mother was present). Her idea of parenthood comes from what she thinks it is. Mine comes from what I’ve done, and with no say in the matter at that.

Today, as an adult, I don’t hate children and, to an extent, I do enjoy looking after them. There are times when I’d genuinely prefer a child’s company to an adult’s. Occasionally, children who come to my register with their parents will talk about something, and one child surprised me when she was so quiet while waiting in line, but started chatting with me the second her parents came to my counter. It’s rather cute, even if I have no idea what they’re going on about, and heaven knows I’d rather hear that than be yelled at by a customer for the fifth time because I can’t do their return.

But all of those are temporary. At the end of the day, the children are gone and I go home. I can have patience with children precisely because I’m not around them 24/7. It’s easier to remember they’re children and they’re acting like children than it would be if I were over-exhausted and hadn’t slept in three days. I’ve heard parenthood can teach you patience – likely because you have no choice except to learn – but it could also very well double my temper, which happens naturally anyway. “Doing your best” isn’t an excuse when what you do causes you to scar your child. I didn’t realize until I was an adult my own mother was practically winging parenthood the whole time. She tried, but her “best” was only good when everything else was good. If not, hell reigned upon us.

In the end, along with lack of interest in parenthood, I’m not interested in playing Russian Roulette with someone’s life. At least, I can argue I wasn’t willingly given the responsibility of my sister. That was my mom’s doing. But my child? 100% my fault. No room to complain about having to share then! I’d brought that kid into the world. I’d better share!

Ending One Chapter Starts Another

I know I’m probably going to eat my words somewhere down the line, but this year is already starting off well. And that means something since it didn’t particularly end well.

My job as a cashier is a seasonal position, so after a certain date, I was supposed to be let go. Key word: was.

I learned today it’s planned for me to stay on the team after the seasonal period ends, although it’s probably news I wasn’t supposed to learn this early. When I was working today, I confided in the supervisor on duty it was a concern on my mind, but I didn’t want to come across as a nag for daring to ask the manager in charge of it. She told me to ask anyway since we’re allowed (my workplace has an “open-door policy”, which means you can speak to any manager or supervisor you want at any time if you need something) and since I was already at work, I swallowed my fear and asked when I went on break. The answer was yes. When I returned from break, I very happily (but quietly) thanked the supervisor for encouraging me to do that. She was happy for me.

I work my first job and I didn’t fail at it! I still marvel at being able to hold down a job, so to learn I’m keeping it blew me right out of the water!

The other goodness for 2017 is, although it was unneeded, I got a reminder of just how strong a certain person’s love is for me. The circumstances that revealed it weren’t so pleasant and I have enough humility to admit those circumstances were my fault. No, I’m not asking for a cookie. The end of the matter of was when he became hysterical over me and sobbed for about five to ten minutes. Few things have crushed me with so much guilt as when I realized I caused that. To top it off, he called himself pathetic for crying and pushed me away when I tried to comfort him (after asking for me to do it just two minutes ago), insisting he didn’t deserve it. Let me make that clear: I hurt him, but he was crying over me. He was hysterical over the person who hurt him because he believed it was the other way around and he’d hurt me.

Before that happened, he’d been prepared to wait all day for me because he didn’t yet know I’d already left home. Now, I’ll admit that sounds stalker-ish on the surface, but these plans were arranged and agreed to, and he didn’t have reason to believe they changed.

I’m fortunate to have someone who loves me so much, he deems me worth having an emotional breakdown over, and right after I hadn’t been so kind to him. I deserved that guilt and, really, so much more than that. He once said I spoil him because I often pay for much of our outings since I have a job. He’s wrong. He spoils me with so much love and patience like that. I genuinely love him and I don’t plan on putting him to a test, especially when I know all too well the misfortune of not having people who love you or have your best interests at heart.

I already know the happiness won’t last and there are some difficult times coming up. In fact, there’s one I’ve been aware of for a very long time. But I’ll have to face it when it comes and knowing I have the above, I’m not afraid of it anymore because it’s not a problem I created. For now, however, I’ll simply enjoy the joy ride.