I think I’ve gotten my 2021 weekend routines down. Wake up. Stare at my phone. Reply to the various IG group chats I’ve either started or have been added to without consent, but stay for the hilarious meme exchanges. Grab a cliff bar from under my bed –I order a box online every month and stash it there for motivational purposes–and maybe go for a walk or run. Eat breakfast with mom and sister. Sit at my desk and answer some emails–today I went on a virtual brunch with an undocumented alumni group I recently joined. Check my bank account–although this is a daily force of habit and not just a weekend thing. Maybe make some art. And just watch a lot of TV. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Depressing. But see, this routine, right now, is some calm I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. Because the other option is to future-trip. I’ve been obsessed with this term for a couple of weeks now, when someone in my recovery group mentioned it. I quickly googled it and its meaning is pretty literal. To trip about future shit.
For someone who grew up with a very unreliable, undocumented future, there are two things that keep future-tripping me: my sobriety and my parent’s future. After almost a decade of living on my own, the current pandemic forced me to once again cohabitate with my family and change certain coping mechanisms of the past. Now, if you’re reading this in the hopes of some sobriety how-to’s and stories about how alcohol and drugs are bad for you, feel free to move on. The only thing I can tell you is to listen to your body: if you feel like certain fun chemicals are making you feel like shit, then maybe put down that powdered, rolled-up dollar bill and ask for help.
But back to future-tripping.
Grindr and Scruff get me to future-trip the most. When I go on these hook-up apps and the inevitable question comes up, “do you host?” my gut reaction is to do what I do in person or social media: explain my living situation. This is in direct response to the feeling of, ugh, I’m a 37-year old Mexican man living with his parents. I quickly want to explain that my father lost his job during the pandemic, that my mother and sister haven’t been able to work due to health issues, and that I’m this household’s only reliable source of income and savings. That this decision was not initiated by them. That, on the contrary, it took some convincing on my end to get my dad to let me help. That if it hadn’t been for my dear friend Anita, I would still be looking for a decent place, big enough for four adults with different immigration statuses in the middle of a pandemic.
But it’s Grindr, and unsolicited information beyond dick size and sex position preferences is frowned upon.
So I log off and go back to watching Grey’s Anatomy while scrolling through Zillow for the houses I cannot afford in Long Beach. I start panicking at the thought of the paperwork that homebuying requires. What can I do to improve my credit score? Should I buy a duplex? What can I realistically get? Will I ask the right questions if I actually start a home buying process? Should I even try? Will I be renting with my parents forever? When will I host again?! FUTURE TRIP STARTED!!!!!!!!
I really don’t have an answer on how to stop future-tripping. I mean, therapy helps. My therapist tells me to quit that shit and focus on the things I can control–in a nicer and more put-together kinda way. But of course, therapy is not accessible for everyone–been looking for this household where I am the only one with good insurance and the options look bleak. So I go back to my routine. This routine where I have some control. This routine that makes me wonder if I’m adulting or just trying to convince myself to be happy for what I have. At least for now.