The boy and I got our apartment in Newmarket September 1st, we moved in September 19th, we had a housewarming party celebrating our living in sin October 31st and this week my Toronto radio station turned to static. I think it’s trying to tell me I’m no longer a Torontonian.
My sister and I have been joking for months that I now live in Northern Ontario, to us that means anywhere north of Bloomington Road – the northern border of Richmond Hill, where we grew up. I have been settling into life in suburbia telling myself we live in “downtown Newmarket” – that’s just like downtown Toronto isn’t it? But the bubble has been burst by static. No longer it seems can I listen to Roger Darren and Marilyn banter back and forth. I can’t play along and dream about what I would spend $500,000 on if I won Beat the Bank. And where will I get my entertainment report now? Barrie? Please.
While thinking about my radio woes I can’t help but feel like it’s all a metaphor to how I’m feeling as a twenty-something. Everything is changing, and sometimes it feels like my whole life is static. There’s a hint of sensible conversation, but nothing seems to be coming across too clearly for too long. I know there are clear stations of life on either side of where I am but where I am right now is unclear. I am past the bar scene of my early twenties, but I’m not in the engaged/married/pregnant stage either.
My feminist self balks at these categories, thinking – I’m only feeling this way because I’ve learned through North American society that this is how I’m supposed to break my life up, child, student, engaged, married, mother, empty-nester, dead. As a young independent woman of the 21st Century I shouldn’t feel confined to these categories – but much like “it’s such an exciting time” knowing I shouldn’t feel this way doesn’t make it go away.
It may be a comfort for other people living in a static radio world – Other people feel this way too. Peggy Orenstien did a research study on women living with similar thoughts. She called her book “Flux” and describes the problem as women living in a “half-changed world.” She interviewed people my age, young women who know what they want – and know that they shouldn’t be connecting their self-worth to their status as a mother. She found we haven’t yet been able to create new categories for ourselves, which leaves us confused, and the reality is many of us want to be a wives and mothers and struggle with this inbetween place.
Unfortunately, Orenstien didn’t find any clearer minds when she looked at women in their 30s or 40s either, instead she found women trying to juggle being a wife, mother, and career woman, and although they are “doing it all,” they rarely feel they are doing any of their roles well, or as they would like to. Alternately, she found women made choices in their lives, and either focused on being mothers, or focused on a career – and while they feel they are fulfilling that role to the best of their ability they feel jugded for not “doing it all.”
So where does that leave me? I think it leaves me with one last box to be unpacked, a staticy radio station – and some days feeling like I’m in limbo. But on the bright side, books like Orenstien’s let me know I’m not the only one in the world feeling like I do. Check out her website for more articles on women and girls self-esteem, http://peggyorenstein.com/
The boy and I seem to have started some sort of ritual of asking each other if we had a good day just before going to bed. This few seconds of reflection allows me to put the staticy radio and life aside, and focus on what happened that day. Most days, it is a good day… that’s got to count for something.