Square feet and aging

Age has always been a funny thing to me. I got married and graduated college at 22 and had our first child when I was 23. Compared to most of our friends and the trends in society both of these were at least several years early. I always kind of liked being the young mom or the young boss at work. It was a love hate thing working with parents that felt I was no older than their students but were impressed with the MBA diploma on my wall. (I promise that the full of myself attitude will pass just hang in there.)

Turning 25 was the first time I can remember feeling that sinking feeling of getting older but not being where I thought I would be. Don't get me wrong...I love being married to the best guy ever and I love being a mom (by far the hardest and most rewarding job out there) but my life was not where I thought it would be. I like working in financial aid. Students are great (most of the time), time off and flexibility is great (who else gets a paid week and few days off at Christmas that isn't considered vacation time), and I can cheer for snow days. However, the "real world" sometimes feels like I am missing something (namely more money).

Last year when we moved to PA it was a rough time for me. It took me tons of interviews and job applications to get a job and in the mean time I was a stay at home mom. I loved being home with my kids and this really surprised me. I thought that we would drive each other crazy and I would be bored stiff. Not so. It was fantastic to stay at home and it really made Bret's first year much more bearable. I hated looking for a job and will never spend that much time and energy again. If/when we move I will plan to stay home for an indeterminable amount of time and will find a job when I find a job. We will be in a better financial situation that money won't be so tight and getting a job at that point will truly be optional.

Something I have noticed about Bret and I is that we are old souls. We are traditional in most senses and we tend to gravitate friend wise to people older than we are. Sometimes I think it is because of our kids and having friends that also have kids but this is not always the case as several of our friends are either not married or don't have children. Our friends range in age from a couple years older to 10+ years older. I find it intriguing that we also have found that all of the close friends that we have made since moving here are not originally from here. In fact a lot of them are from the mid west and have relocated here in the last few years too.

The only thing that kind of bugs me about having older friends is that they tend to be just a little bit more settled than we are. Bret is still in his residency so it feels like college in a way. He gets paid but about 1/5 of what he will get when he is done. We live in a tiny apartment (this is by choice kind of) and are still striving towards true financial stability. When it comes to our older friends it feels weird inviting them over to our home since we live (all four of us) in a tiny two bedroom apartment. None of our friends would care and we have never let it keep us from having huge birthday parties, dinner parties, or holidays but it still makes me pause. I hate to admit it but it is almost like I am ashamed and I hate that. I am proud of what we have because what we have we have earned. Bret and I have been financially independent from our parents since we finished college and even in college we were more independent than most. This was not always easy since med school cost a lot and we were on one income. Having kids so early was also not easy but we managed. We could probably afford a house but it would make things tight and I hate that. Instead we have chosen to live in hospital owned apartments that are subsidized (i.e. very cheap, close to the hospital, safe neighborhood, and well taken care of) and use the extra money to pay off debt (like the mortgage size amt of std loans). This is the choice that we have made but every now and then it bugs me when I make new friends and pause just before I invite them over for the first time. In the mean time some of our friends who have houses so big you could fit our entire apartment in one bedroom seem to enjoy our company, good cooking, and getting out for the evening even if we are squeezed in pretty tight.

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