It's like having deja vu all over again. An unused degree that took longer than most to get, check. Underemployed at an office job that is irrelevant to my chosen field, check. Feeling destined to a disappointing and unfulfilled life, check. Honestly, this is precisely how I felt nine years ago when I graduated with my bachelor's degree. I had hoped that this time around things would be different. I had hoped to find a job as a middle school teacher. Obviously that can still happen, but I have a deeply-rooted paranoia that I will be stuck going from office job to office job, unable to get teaching experience because I need a steady income, and constantly rejected for that lack of teaching experience. I spent most of the six years between my bachelor's degree and graduate school miserable and working at dead-end jobs I didn't care about. I don't want that again. At all. The office is not for me. I love the feeling of being in a classroom, of working with students, of collaborating with other teachers, of channeling the excitement of learning and the power of knowing. That is what I want and I am extremely frustrated that I can't find it. Now I feel like a hamster on a wheel, having expended a lot of resources thinking I was getting somewhere and then realizing I'm in the same exact place I started. It is not a happy feeling.
The life-on-repeat feeling isn't only applicable in my working life. I'm tired of watching successive generations of friends build careers and families and leave me behind, either physically or metaphorically. I'm tired of being the dependable friend who is there when people need me, but rarely included in the fun stuff. I'm tired of friends who disappear when dating someone and then reappear seeking consolation when it doesn't work out. I would really like not to feel stuck on the side of the road while everyone flies by, headed for the future at 60 mph.
I don't want to sound ungrateful, as there are a lot of good things in my life and I am a happy person. I haven't always been this happy; it has been a battle to get happy and I don't want that fight to be in vain. It is just hard for a worry-wart overachiever like me to wait, to stop, to be patient.