You get older, and you think "I want to be a pirate/astronaut/ballerina/engineer (or all of those things) and now that I am old I CAN DO IT!". But as you get older, you also realize the process involved in becoming a pirate/astronaut/ballerina/engineer.
And then somewhere between that first 5k you pay off, which makes you feel like an accomplished adult, and then realizing you're still staring down the barrel of at least another 25k, you start to think...never again. I don't care what it takes to become a pirate astronaut ballerina engineer, I will never again willing cripple myself and my life by incurring this much debt.
But then more time passes and you're entering a sphere of adult awareness that is based on conversations with your peers and people that are perhaps on the older end of your age group, and you realize, it's not over. You can't make that promise to yourself. Being a pirate astronaut ballerina engineer takes a lot of hard work, and time, and money, and if it's really what you want to do, your'e going to have to spend it. So if you're anything like me, you rebel outright at this idea and think There must be another way, and you try to circumvent the process of going back to school by supplanting education with more, relevant job experience.
AND THIS IS THE PART WHERE BEING AN ADULT REALLLY STARTS TO SUCK. Because you get a job in your field. You give two weeks notice to your current boss, at your job where you know all your duties, you make a decent wage, and you like your co-workers. Your new job has a better wage, it's in the field you want, you'll have less co-workers (which in the end counts as a pro, right, because if your a misanthropic jerk-butt like me that just means that statistically there will be less people to eventually annoy you). Then you start having anxiety dreams. You don't sleep through the night, because you're dreaming about being late for work, about making irrevocable life decisions that are ridiculous and surreal, in typical dream-fashion, but wake you up with the force of the regret you feel in your subconscious, sleeping state. You start to pick fights over trivial things with your partner instead of relying on them for support, because you're tired, and you're worried, but worst of all you're beginning to suspect that maybe some of the decisions you've made in the past haven't been exactly what you wanted or turned out the way you wanted them to or will not, in the future, turn out to be what you think they are now, in the present. Your doubts about your career choice begin to undermine the shit you though you had locked down, like confidence in your decision not to go back to school, or your decision to move half-way across the country for a ginger.
And you realize: this is why being an adult sucks. Because I WANTED this. I wanted to pursue my career as a pirate astronaut ballerina engineer (or, you know, a museum curator, let's say) and so I went for it like a BOSS and now I have literally been reduced to a shaking jello mold of anxiety because I CANNOT DECIDE IF I ACTUALLY WANT THIS THING THAT I THOUGHT I KNEW I WANTED. And NOBODY tells you about this part of being an adult when you are kid -- no one EVER mentioned to me the overwhelming, crippling volume of self-doubt that I would be facing on a daily basis as soon as I came within the realm of achieving something that I actually, really wanted. Nobody lets you know that sometimes there's a real difference between how that thing you put on a pedestal looks from down at the bottom of the hill, and how it might look by the time you come up to within an arm's reach of it. Nobody tells you how the struggle of working for what you want might change the core of you so fundamentally that by the time you reach your goal, you might be somebody else entirely -- somebody who no longer wants the thing they did when they started out toward it.