Many of you have expressed various feelings of unease regarding your lives lately. The way that most of us grow up in this country, we do not have a helpful transition from the roller coaster of adolescence to this strange thing called “adulthood,” in which we are supposed to magically become capable of complete self-sufficiency overnight. The disconnect you are feeling is normal.
Please don’t misinterpret my intentions. I am not telling you this because I am older and, therefore, must know better. I know nothing. I am telling you because I hate seeing you so upset, and if some of the wisdom I have gained in the past ten years of experience can help to put things into perspective for you like it has for me, it is worth the telling.
I have heard from multiple people that they feel directionless. If you want your life to have a direction, that is fine, but I have to ask you: why? Suppose you map out your life. Suppose you attain all of your goals within a relatively short time. What will you do then? Will your life again cease to have direction? Will that cause you more grief? If I could tell you one thing about this and really have it sink in, I would say to enjoy the ride. My life has rarely had more than a loose formation of direction. I know I want to study reptiles. I know I want to travel. The details of how I get there seem to change weekly. And that’s okay, because I am enjoying what I am doing right now.
People have told me they are not happy. I suffered severe trauma at a young age that has followed me well into adulthood. I wanted desperately to be happy for so long. I thought happiness was a constant state. I was so miserable that the idea of spending any amount of time not being happy was unbearable. But a few years ago, while grappling again with the fallout of my trauma, I realized that I could care less about being happy. I am going to be upset sometimes. Life is going to suck. But life is also going to be wonderful. I am going to have fun. I am going to enjoy my own company. And ultimately, I want to be at peace.
I have heard people say they want to be more independent. I think that is a very admirable goal. I strive towards that myself. One of the hardest parts about being independent is learning to ask for help. Sometimes, you can’t move a couch by yourself. Sometimes, you need a ride to drop your car off to be worked on. Sometimes, life is shitty and you just need someone to talk to you and really listen. Reaching out seems counter-intuitive to gaining independence. But when you show others that you can ask for things that you need, they will start to notice your strength.
Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself. Allow yourself the time to do things you need to do to be in a good headspace. Allow yourself five minutes, an hour, a day, a week. I did not want to allow myself that time, so life forced me to take multiple years. Life still forces that on me sometimes – that’s what depression is. It’s life saying, “Calm the fuck down. You are not in a position to deal with this right now.” Those are the times when I want the least to ask for help, but they are the times when I need it the most. That’s a lesson I’m still learning, and none of you will learn it overnight. Sometimes, many things must happen before you can get to a place where you can learn the next step. But believe that your life will never be stagnant – as long as you allow for growth, you will keep progressing.
As JZ says, “Follow your bliss.” Find what makes you feel at peace, what motivates you, what makes you feel good about yourself, and do it. And although it’s hard as a social animal that depends on the approval of the troop for survival, try not to let naysayers get you down. They don’t know your life or your struggles. They don’t know your dreams. They don’t know the beauty within your soul.