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My Version of the Midnight Library

So if you aren’t familiar with the book, The Midnight Library, let me first explain what it’s about and this post will make a a lot more sense. For those of you that have read it, you may know where this post is going.

In short, in The Midnight Library a girl is able to see all the different lives she could have lived if she had made a different decision(s) along the way. There is a lot more to it than just this (and highly recommend you read it), but for the sake of this post that is what you need to know! Another way to look at this is the concept of “parallel lives.” This concept is basically that outside of the life you live now, there are many other lives that you also could have lived but are very different from the one you live now. So for example, there is a version of Claire that maybe stayed working as a RN, or a version of Claire that never went back to school for nursing that stayed working in NYC, etc. Based on all the decisions we’ve made, we have ended up living a certain life (the one we have now) but there are other lives that another version of us could have lived.

So you may be wondering where this post is going. Basically, I just wanted to share with you all how I’ve been feeling lately (and this will tie into the concept of The Midnight Library, I promise).

Last week, I posted a blog sharing why we were thinking of moving (away from Raleigh). After posting that, several of you messaged me saying that you could totally relate. Not that you’re in Raleigh necessarily lol, but just that you also debate/think about your current living situation and wonder if you should make a change. Some of you currently live in a bigger city like NY or LA and wonder if you should move to more to the suburbs or a city that is less expensive, and others of you live in the suburbs like we do and don’t feel totally satisfied. And to be fair, there are pros and cons to everywhere; each city has its trade offs. But I think some people are totally fine with the trade offs and still know 100% where they want to live, and others of us just struggle a little more with what is the right choice. So just know that if you’re in the later boat, you’re not alone!

I’ve always been someone that has been open to living in different places, and I feel like I can do (and have done) a pretty good job at focusing on the present and the positives of any situation (in this case, where we currently live). But lately, I just feel so much more overwhelmed and unsure. I don’t know if it’s because I’m 33 now and I feel like as I get “older” time is running out on certain decisions. Like, I’m starting to feel this pressure about whether I/we want kids (and not pressure from society, but just pressure for me to decide what I want for myself). And then I start to think, who moves out of the suburbs to someplace like NYC when they are mid-thirties (with a child potentially)?! Like, that is very much the opposite of the societal norm. And then I start to think – but why do I care if that’s what is “normal”? If it’s what I want to do then who cares? But then I’m like – well there is probably a reason people don’t do that..and then I just kind of go down this spiral of feeling confused, and pressed that I have to make these big decisions on the direction of my life sooner than later.

So anyway the other night I was talking to Stephen, I may or may not have been having a mini breakdown (going to blame the couple glasses of wine I had lol), and I was just telling him that lately I just feel so torn on what I want. And how sometimes I wonder am I going to look back and wish I made a different choice on where to live and therefore what kind of lifestyle we would have? I was talking about staying in Raleigh, vs. moving to somewhere like NYC; having kids vs. not having kids. I told him, and I’ll tell you guys, that I’m not unhappy by any means. I genuinely do feel so grateful and know that I really would be happy with Stephen anywhere. After saying all this though, he was like, I kind of feel like they are just two different lives in The Midnight Library (he’s read the book as well). He was like, I think we could be really happy in either type of life, but they would just look different. Not necessarily one being better than the other, just different. So that is what made me think of what my version of The Midnight Library would be and why I wrote this post. And I definitely think Stephen is right. Like we could be happy staying here and “committing” to this lifestyle, but we could also move somewhere else, totally change our lifestyle and be happy with that version of our lives.

As frustrated as feeling so conflicted feels, the bright side is that I genuinely feel like I could be happy in a variety of “lives.” Like, if we stayed in Raleigh, had a kid(s), I can see us being really happy. Alternatively though, if we moved somewhere like NYC and never had kids, I could see us being equally happy. But it’s just committing and not always wondering about the “what if” that is the problem haha. But anyway. Obviously I can’t really live two lives at once haha, so for now, I have chosen to just not think about it too much and just take it one day at a time. I feel like things have always had their way of working out how they are supposed to, so I’m just going to see where things go and try not to overthink and stress in the meantime xx

does one of your girlfriends need to hear this? Share away…

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  1. Julia says:

    Wow, this is exactly what I’m going through. Late 20s, about to graduate law school. It feels like there’s a lot of pressure to pick the “right” life, especially since the next few years are going to be so formative. My husband and I are both just so unsure if we want kids or not so I think moving somewhere where being childfree is more common is a good way for us to go (there’s a LOT of couples with kids in Raleigh-Durham). I think about it daily and you’re right, it is super stressful. But I also agree that either way I think we’ll be happy and there’s something so freeing about living in the moment and not letting the worry overtake your mind.

    • Claire Guentz says:

      Honestly, I think that is a great plan especially with still being in your (late) 20s! There is so much time (more than you think, I promise. I can say that since I’m 5 years older than you lol). But like you said there are A LOT of families here in Raleigh-Durham which is totally fine if that’s what you’re looking for, but if you’re not ready for that yet (or ever), it’s very freeing to just make a decision on what you want right now, not overthink it, and just go for it!

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