This week was hardly the first time I’ve acutely felt the passage of time, but so many things reminded me. I saw a picture on Instagram of coworkers at my last marketing job, gathered around for a birthday lunch. I turned in my notice four years ago. There’s been twice as much time since I left than when I was there. And though I feel like I know the new PR manager — he was the newspaper editor, at his previous gig, who had offered me a full time job before graduation that I ultimately declined in favor of pursuing my MBA, because this state is smaller than it seems - I really don’t.
I figured I’d be older than in my mid-thirties before I’d open an app like Spotify and not recognize more than half the artists recommended to me.
Time took a different shape when I went to software school, and since.
I went to a literary meetup and the intros went around the room and for the first time in a long time, nobody introduced themselves as “not really a writer.” They talked about pieces they’d published and where they were shopping around next. And here I am, introducing myself as a marketer turned software engineer, just recovered enough from burnout to start writing again at all. I wondered if I’d write more if we didn’t have a TV out in the open, if we had a fireplace.
One of the attendees really wanted to get published in a specific outlet, wanted to give them first right of refusal on each piece. “Oh, you can’t do that,” the woman I’ve known the longest said. “You could wait your whole life.”
I’m not sure, after that, if I ever was able to look directly at him. His frustration was palpable. It’s hard to hear people say it’ll take years for something to happen when you’re still trying to get there.
At the last workshop, after my speed partner used the term “glass ceiling,” I used it too. I’ve cracked my head on it twice. I spent the better part of a decade lighting myself on fire for people who didn’t care how they were kept warm.