35 is the New 15.

Getting older isn’t what I expected. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Happy Birthday to me. I’m Turning 35 this week.

Me with hella vegan ice cream from Fiddlehead Creamery.

I’m married, to someone in his 40s. We’ve got a kid. And a dog. We own a home. That all checks out. That’s exactly what the fortune teller at my elementary school’s Halloween Carnival told me my life would be like when I grew up.

But then there are other things:

I still eat food off the floor. I still like playing on the playground. I still take baths.

And most unexpected:

I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

When I grow up, maybe I’ll be the queen of the ocean.

Some of the current frontrunners are writer, children’s librarian, children’s book author, homemaker, vegan pastry chef , and restaurateur, although those are definitely not the only jobs I’m considering.

My husband, meanwhile, is considering (depending on which day you ask) fantasy artist, professional Dungeon Master, science fiction novelist, vegan “meat” magnate, restaurateur, homemaker… and then there are the really random schemes: Should he be a scuba-diving boat cleaner?

No one told us life would be like this. Maybe because no one knew.

My dad worked at the same company since before I was born til when I was in college.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how much of this gig economy is something I chose (I certainly didn’t want me or my husband to have to work outside the home full-time when we had a little baby to care for) and how much is something thrust upon us by late-stage capitalism.

The work I’ve done since my 4-year-old was born feels more like it’s maybe, hopefully leading somewhere, rather than it being anything I’ve worked towards.

I’m doing a lot of unpaid writing, hoping it will lead to more paid writing.

I’m working a couple hours a week, leading a children’s program at the library, hoping….?

I’m running a small Etsy shop.

I’m literally selling my home movies, like my baby eating dog food, to pay the bills.

I’ve done Mechanical Turk, and for 6 months, I worked from home as a rater, which, I’d love to say more, but I had to sign an NDA.

There are more things. More gigs. Lots of them.

This is 35?

Every week or so, I have the same conversation in my head:

When it comes to work, what is freedom?

Is freedom owning your own business? Or does the business then own part of you?

Is freedom getting a “regular job,” so you can go home when your shift’s over and leave it all behind?

Is this freedom? What I’m doing now? Piecing it all together?

And what is my kiddo learning from all this? By the time she grows up, will these questions seem outdated?

What’s your life like now? And what did you think it would be like when you were a kid?