Appearances can be deceiving. Instagram is simply a highlights reel of your life, and simply what you allow others to see. My IG story reel though, actually allows me to be a little more honest and a little more transparent with my life since it's raw footage of my life when I post sometimes, no photoshop or smokes and mirrors in videos. Not that I'm hiding anything or whatever, but I don't want to be that "you looked better online" person. But I'm also not ashamed of what I look like, with or without makeup. 

The point is, just because you don't see it happen online, does not mean it doesn't happen. Just because people look like they're having a good time all the time, does not mean they don't struggle. You don't see the blood, sweat, and tears. You don't see the hard work, the hours that go into something. The planning, the time, the effort. Everything. You don't see EVERYTHING that happens. And it's exhausting. 

I don't like when people automatically assume life has been easy. Everything has been handed to you. Your life is good. There's nothing to stress about. It's simply not true. And I don't like when people try to compare either. It's not about comparison. It's not a game of "well, at least you don't have to go through _________" or "You think you got it bad? Well, this happened to me." You can't compare shit when you can't understand or relate or empathize 100% someone else's fight. It's an insult. Everyone is on a different path. Some may have it harder, definitely, and some people are on a completely different kind of struggle. It doesn't make it any less of a struggle or less of what they had to go through. 

Sometimes I wonder if my stress is my own fault. I mean, a good chunk of it is. I always seem to take on more than I want to handle because of my reckless nature. I make decisions on a whim sometimes instead of giving myself a minute to think things through thoroughly and carefully. I don't realize til too late I might not be able to handle it all. And this is how I ended up where I'm at, at 29. 

Yes, I'm turning 30 this year. It used to scare the shit out of me, but as I grew older and closer to the age, I started to come to terms with it and it doesn't feel as bad as it sounded 5 years ago. I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do, but it has also gotten me into a lot of debt. And because I made a lot of stupid, reckless decisions, I'm dealing with the consequences and trying to keep my head above the water. 

I wish I knew more about colleges when I first started. Maybe I wouldn't have chosen such an expensive private school. But I wasn't thinking about the massive student debt problem or how college is a scam with all their fees, tuition sticker prices, and bursar highway robbery bait and switch malarkey. I didn't think about how I was going to have to pay it all back one day or how long it would take. I didn't even think about hey what if I don't find a job right away. I simply lived on the mentality that life would just work itself out. 

I also didn't know anything about buying a house, paying utility bills, taking care of your own property, living completely on your own and dealing with mishaps as they occur, like your power going out, being out of heating oil, dealing with busted water pipes, a cold house in the dead of winter, an overflowing toilet and a broken bathroom, etc. You learn as you go along. Unfortunately, these are very expensive lessons. 

Same with buying and owning a car. All the mishaps that come with it, maintenance, dealing with terrible dealerships that don't come through after they sell you the car, the loan payments, etc. 

Bottom line, adulting is hard. And there's no manual. And not everyone is going to help you. There's also no "rosebud" or "motherlode" cheat. Sometimes you're dealt the hard cards. Sometimes a lot of hard cards. The IRS might decide to fuck you over and take more money from you even if they're the ones that fucked up. And sometimes, that accident that your insurance covered a few years ago, might come back to bite you in the bite and the other insurance company might try to sue your ass and your insurance company is just like "well, this sucks for you, you're on your own!" Sometimes the job you put hours and days and months of dedication into, instead of spending time with your friends and family, will turn around and take you for granted and try to kick you to the curb and accuse your ass of stealing and send LP after you because someone else in the company wants to throw you under the bus because he wants to prove to the DM that his dick is bigger. 

Whatever it is, sometimes it feels like you're not where you want to be. And it's taking forever to get there. And patience of all things, is a hard thing to learn. 

I wish I was turning 30 and thriving and on top of the world. I wish I was debt-free already like some of my college friends. But I was too ambitious, too soon. I graduated, got engaged, planned a big wedding and was intent on buying a house that same year I got married. While I still had a car loan and my student loans on top of me. The loans game feels so stifling sometimes. It gets to be really stressful because I feel like it's holding me back from a lot of things. Not like I want to have kids just yet, but I feel like that holds me back from starting the family I would ideally like to have. I don't want to raise my kids in an environment where I'm struggling to make my bills on time. Kids are like another 18 year loan on top of house, car, student loans. 
Back to the Instagram misconceptions too. What you see is the cool places I visit and the yummy foods I eat. But what you don't realize even though I show this too, is that I don't go on those adventures as often as you think, but rather I'm working out at the gym 5-7 days a week, working at my civilian job 5 days out of the week, and eating the bland, cheap, healthy for you tasteless foods during that time.

Life isn't always glamorous and I'm not always "eating good." I kicked my ass into gear for 6 months to lose the dreaded 20 lbs that was weighing me down into my depression. It wasn't easy and I struggled a lot through it but I had to be my own motivation and guiding light through trying times. 

And from time to time, I struggle to pay my bills and keep on top of it. I'm trying to juggle a lot financially and for a time last year, I was trying to support two people on a one person income so it was a little challenging as one of us went through a career change. It was a lot to handle, and I honestly was afraid I wouldn't get through it. 

I stress a lot and I get through it, but it doesn't mean it makes it any easier each time and each hurdle I go through. 

I wish I was at a better spot financially at my age but at the same time, I need to stop and think about the bigger picture and not worry about my debt too much. I need to give myself credit for what I've accomplished so far. I worked hard and put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build my empire. It's not as big as it could or should be but I need to be patient and learn that things will come to me in due time. 

I hope that even with my stress and debt, I can somehow afford to take the dream vacation I want for my birthday this year. I was really stressing it about it all week planning because I realized I shouldn't have said yes to this reckless Chicago trip I'm taking in a week. I should've planned Disney first and crunched the numbers so I could budget it out, plan and realize how much I needed in order to handle it. And the problem is I don't want to compromise on anything for my birthday. I know I can easily afford if it I went with a cheaper option, but I really don't want to compromise my dream. The problem with being a Scorpio as well as a dragon, is that once you have a vision of what you want, you don't back down from it. And you know sometimes what you want is unreasonable, but here you are. 

I really want to wake up in a room full of balloons for my birthday, open my curtains and have Cinderella's Castle right outside my window. This is my ridiculous birthday wish.