I’m 42…..some days I feel like a young 42 while other days I feel like there is a huge gulf between who I was 20 years ago (yes, I’m talking 1991) and who I am now. I think one of the reasons I feel so far removed from 22 year old Molly is the fact that I had very few responsibilities way back when compared to now. I’m also old enough to potentially be a twenty-something’s mother so when I meet one I am very aware that we are from different generations. Things have changed in twenty years and it’s not just the extra smile lines I have!
The US invades Iraq. Later on this will be called the 1st Iraq War.
The lead singer of Queen, Freddy Mercury dies of AIDS.
The average cost of gasoline was $1.12.
I was listening to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Nina Simone and Tom Waits.
Clarance Thomas confirmation hearings were going on. The following year I got to hear Anita Hill talk about sexual harassment in the workplace.
William Kennedy Smith went on trial for rape. Immediately after he was found not-guilty he came to medical school at my university.
Rosanne was one of the most popular TV shows.
20 Something Molly:
- I didn’t have a personal computer (although my brother and Michael both did). I got my first personal computer when I was 32 (Thanks Dad!).
- I didn’t have a cell phone. They were around but they were those large bricks that only the privileged few carried around. It cost around $1/minute to talk on one! I had this one friend that would call me from her cell phone and I would hang up on her as soon as I realized she had called me from her cell. I got my first cell phone when I was 30.
- I didn’t have a credit card. I got my first one when I was 27. It had a $500 credit limit. I followed it up with a credit card from Sears. My first husband loved Sears. We always paid the balance off on both cards every month. There might have been an exception here or there but it was rare.
- Cars were cheap! I had a hand-me-down 76′ Cadillac Sedan de Ville from my parents (which was handed down to them from my grandparents) it eventually died on the side of the road.I then purchased a Dodge Omni for $150. I’m sure my Dad was freaked out every time he heard that I was taking another trip out to CA in my Dodge Omni. At one point I lost 5th gear just as I was driving into Flagstaff…..it was fine I didn’t need 5th gear anyways! After a couple of years the Omni died too.My first husband bought me a lowrider truck instead of an engagement ring. While we were married we purchased a Jeep Cherokee for $7000. My first step into real debt. When we divorced I told him to take the lowrider and drive into the sunset.
- CD’s were just becoming affordable. I mostly owned record albums.
- No health insurance. I didn’t get any of that until I was 30. If I got sick I paid for it out of pocket. When I was really sick I went to the county hospital and paid sliding scale.
So how did I manage to get through most of my twenties? Pretty damn well! The only overhead I had was rent, a few utility bills and car insurance (although each of those were hit or miss from time to time!).
I put my drive to be “responsible” on my kids. Suddenly not getting dinner on the table equated to being a mom who didn’t care about the welfare of her babies. Not caring about my own welfare was perfectly acceptable, not OK for the kids! Cleaning up, driving safe, being dependable became the model of who I was trying to be.
There were trying times in my 20’s. Lots of crying over boys/men who would come and go (and then come back again). Marriage/divorce. I’m sure my life would have been less stressful if I had had a steady job, some savings and a little stability but the flip side of it was that because I had little overhead I didn’t have to spend a lot of energy trying to come up with cash. Just lots of time for drama!
In my thirties I expanded everything. Money, cars, computers, a mortgage…. it all exploded. In the end it wasn’t who I was. I realized that I don’t like a lot of overhead. I like having fewer responsibilities. In my forties I’ve been paring back down to the essentials (although it is a work in progress). With the exception of the man drama I think I’m closer to my twenty year old self than I first thought!
Are there things you just can’t imagine living without; can’t imaging how the world kept spinning without?
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