The evolution of a life

Don’t worry, I’m not going to deep-dive into my childhood, here, but I was thinking recently about how different my life is versus what I thought it would be 2, 5, 10 years ago. The friends I had that I thought would be in my life forever I haven’t talked to in a year.

It’s interesting to trace back the last even six months and the decisions you’ve made and how those choices shaped where you are now. I decided in the middle of the interview process that I didn’t want to get a Ph.D. and I turned down offers of acceptance to some of the best research schools in the country. I realized that I didn’t want to spend the next six years in school, doing more classes, doing research, and making next to nothing all while my student loans accrued interest. We wouldn’t be able to travel, afford more than a small apartment, or probably get home to see either of our families often since most of the schools were out of state and not at all close to either group.

At the places I’ve worked, I’ve made friends. Some I’ve kept in touch with after I’ve left there, some I haven’t. Some I’ve prioritized over others, for any number of reasons. Some our interests diverged and without that common denominator of work, we had nothing in common. Some got married and moved away. Some had kids and their priorities shifted. (Note: I have nothing against people having kids, but in my experience, when people do, they spend more time with family and make their friends less of a priority, especially when the kid is young. That’s fine, but when your friends become zero priority and you lose your whole life outside of your kid, I see that as a problem. End rant.) Some? We just grew apart. Nothing wrong with that, and it was no one’s fault. I had friends even a few years ago that I would have thought we’d be friends until we were old and gray. Now? Some of them I barely even talk to.

I honestly thought we would have left <home city> by now. I’m from here, and while Mike isn’t, I always assumed that we would have left by now. There’s nothing wrong with this city, I actually quite like it, but I’d like to experience living elsewhere. I have no problem still being here, I just thought we would have left by now.

I can’t talk about the past and how it has shaped my present and future without mentioning my mental illnesses. Looking back it’s amazing how much having bipolar and anxiety has shaped my life. The decisions I did or didn’t make. The decisions that were colored by the influence of the disorders. Not doing something or going somewhere because I was depressed, making a stupid decision because I was manic or mixed. Not wanting to do something because my anxiety was flaring and I could barely leave the house without needing an Ativan.

I know I’ve talked about the road not traveled before, but recently I really haven’t thought about that or wondered. Maybe that means I’m actually content with the life that I’m living? Maybe I’m actually… stable?

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