I’m amused and impressed by the millennials in my community college classes. They are smart and resilient in the face of what seem like difficult odds. Many are planning to attend grad school in order to get a toehold on a career path, and they are struggling to keep up their GPA so they can eventually transfer into a good university or they are already taking grad school classes while enrolled in community college classes on the side. Most are also working.

I don’t think I’d be up for the daunting task of parenting in such a competitive climate. I don’t have the resources– financial, emotional, familial– that seem necessary to give kids the leg up they need to compete. I am starting to feel relieved that I don’t have that burden.

Today in class I was greedily thinking of all the subjects I would love to take in the fall– more Spanish, more sewing, guitar, Quickbooks. My original plan in moving here was to give myself a break from the workforce for a year and to just take classes while doing some career exploration. Having just completed two decades in the workforce and looking at another two, a break felt warranted.

Then I crossed paths with the old friend who scared me about the job market. Additionally, this is a small town in terms of careers, and if the word spreads that I’m “taking a break” and turning down opportunities, it’s possible it might affect my chances of getting hired in the future. Really hard to say. Finally, when I look at what the millennials are facing, I’m wondering if I should just be thankful I have a career I can jump back into.

I also did think long and hard before passing on those opportunities in L.A. If I end up in a low-level position here due to all these circumstances, I can’t pin it on my roommate. I even refrained from applying for a close-by management job here because my roommate applied and I was hoping for his sake he would get it and hoping for a break for myself.

Some of his behavior has grated though, such as the petulance he displayed while I took some time to consider the opportunities in L.A., his nonchalance about the big step down the ladder I may be embarking on, and his comments about his boyfriend making his life here worthwhile. He had his interview this morning for the management job, and he was whistling (whistling!) as he got dressed. I can’t help but feel that, at bottom, his attitude is “I got mine.” He now has a relationship, a place to live for half the price, and possibly a better job, while I may be facing the shit end of the stick for a year or (God help me) longer. He’s made some ageist remarks in the past that lead me to wonder if the thinks that, since I’m over forty, it doesn’t really matter what happens to me anyway.

There’s really nothing he can do to make this situation different, but showing some grace and compassion would certainly help. I’m wondering if he lacks the maturity I need in a friend.

Long run, I think I’ll be okay here. The job will probably lead to a better one, there are financial advantages to living here, and I’ve got several activities coming up that I’m excited about.

Whether our friendship will be okay is another question.