You’ve got mail


I freaked out the other day when a very thin envelope came in the mail from one of the graduate schools I’ve applied to. Nearly twenty years ago– when I last applied to graduate school–

Thin Envelope = Rejection.

Thankfully, the letter was simply to confirm that the school had received all of my application materials.

But since receiving that letter, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where I was twenty years ago, and where I am now.

Next year I turn forty. And I have to tell you, I find myself somewhat surprised, shocked, and a little bit dismayed by the mere fact that I am not much further along in my “career” life than when I graduated from college. When I was in my early twenties, I could visualize the arc of my working life, and it looked something like this–

The Twenties:  Burning the Midnight Oil/Rat Race

The Thirties:  Getting into the Groove, Becoming an Expert in my Given Field

The Forties:  The Sage/Mentor to Others, Less Experienced Colleagues, ESTABLISHED

And yet here I am. Thirty-nine years old. Running out to the mailbox to see if there’s a fat envelope from a graduate school. Here I am, checking email twenty times a day to see if an agent wants to read my full manuscript. I am just as anxious for validation as I was post-college.

I have nieces and cousins that are college or graduate school age. They are intelligent, sophisticated women. But when they express any sort of indecisiveness or doubt about what they should major in, or whether they should get an internship, where they should apply for jobs or whether they should go to graduate school– I have to say I know less about how to answer those questions than when I was in my twenties.

What should you do with your lives?

How the heck do I know? I’m still trying to figure out my own…

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Have a great weekend! And if you missed it, yesterday Jennifer Niesslein kicked off a new season of WHEN DO YOU WRITE? Please stop by and check it out!


6 thoughts on “You’ve got mail

  1. You are turning 40. You look like you are in 20s btw.

    I have no decide for those people except to inform them to use birth control wisely. 🙂

  2. Well you look 15, are a hugely successful business woman and have four kids. But yes, birth control is a good thing!

  3. Well… Maybe I’m a bit more “established” right now, but I feel pretty lost a lot too… Both K & I feel kind of worried that we’re just starting our stable lives/careers past 40. But I guess 40 can be the new 20, can’t it? 🙂

  4. Anjali, this is such an honest post. I am in my early 40s and feel exactly as you do. I still don’t feel established and I still feel that whole anxiety over being accepted as a writer – by family, friends, agents, even myself! As I was approaching 40 a dear friend who is older and wiser than I told me that as we get older, we become freer. We come into ourselves. We learn to finally become our true selves and stop looking for validation outside ourselves. I am not there yet, but keep working toward that very hopeful goal. Keep going, you will get there too! 🙂

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