August 18.2011 Track spinning| I remember, Deadmau5 ft Kaskade
It seems as though since hitting my twenties life has been in a constant state of flux. At the brink of adulthood question marks that never existed suddenly began to appear everywhere, and I found myself asking whether I wanted the career, relationships and future I had planned for myself.
As per my usual ritual I began to write, hoping to soothe my insides whilst finding answers to the onslaught of new problems. I found myself constantly changing my mind about my conclusions; a direct reflection of the cyclical nature of life in my twenties. After trying to write this piece for over a year, I finally decided to share my observations from the last few years instead. I share these with you in hopes that you’ll find comfort in knowing that this unpredictably awkward and curiously painful time in life, is a battle we face together.
After finishing school, we go out into the working world with so much excitement about our new found independent lives. Free from the institutional constraints we believed plagued us for years, we suddenly had this feeling of control over our own lives again. Our goal was just landing a spot in the chaos; something to give us a sense of belonging and autonomy in our new 9 to 5 realm. Whether it was the right fit or not, we took an opportunity when we got it, faking it till we made it and relishing in our first real pay cheque.
But it wouldn’t be long before we started to see our jobs shaping us into people we never imagined to be. All those grand ideas we once had about making a real change in the world soon got lost in the mix of our busy nine to five lives. We became people pleasers, executing visions that came from somewhere high above. Our daily highs and lows leading us to contemplate a new direction, one which offered something fresh and exciting to compliment our real personalities and reignite that fire we once had. We constantly battled with ourselves, wondering whether to stay on the path promising a stable future or stray for the possibility of something grander that we knew we were capable of.
It seemed like such a short time ago when our dreams were grand, and the road ahead of us looked long and bright. When we had the will to fight for anything and everything and always allowed our curiosity to steer our lives in multiple directions. Sure we had stress, but it was a simple time, one where our every laugh and woe was shared. Our biggest worries often revolved around male drama, that horrible finance exam and whether pineapples would make it on the late night pizza order. Skipping class, pushing deadlines, cramming for an exam, staying out until the wee hours of the night and stumbling into class with a large cup of coffee gave us our daily thrills.
As we graduated and scattered in different directions our social lives started to shift gear. We began to witness our friends and classmates pairing off and migrating far far from the lives we once knew together. Our old friendships took new and different shapes than what we were once accustomed to when our lives operated side by side. Although we learned to roll with the change eventually we had to come to accept life entering yet another stage. One which would redefine our relationships and urge us to put ourselves out there again in a real way as we sought new companions to fill the gaps.
Our relationships became more real than we had ever known before. The bitter taste of heartache in our twenties still lingering, changing the way in which we approached love indefinitely. That once care free attitude in which we allowed ourselves to live for just the moment began to lose appeal as we started to see the value more and more in having an eternal witness to our lives. Trusting our instincts was no longer enough. We screen checked the strangers in our lives hoping to put our anxiety to rest and mitigate the potential pain we feared. As we trembled in the dark on our quest to find the passion and happiness, we hoped for the best, but always prepared for the worst.
Overtime we find our journey gets easier as we begin to seek signs to help us navigate through the dark with ease and confidence. We come to see that the swift changes which are so definitive of our twenties are precisely what teach us how to control our emotions and conquer defeat with the kind of grace, characteristic only of life experience. The internal battles and mental abuse we so frequently imposed on ourselves lessen as we become comfortable in our new world. We take disruptions to our lives as an opportunity to learn versus obstacles to dismay us.
We learn to laugh when we fail recognizing how to embrace surprises and accepting that sometimes everything won’t fall into place as planned. As we get into the groove of change we find ourselves taking chances even when they may cause us to bruise along the way. We allow our curiosity to be piqued with the interesting people that cross our path, appreciating the value that any stranger may offer at any point, to teach us something about ourselves and the way in which we experience the world. We relish in the thrill of knowing that every night offers a new possibility in friendship, in love or just perspective. And it is this particular point; the unforeseeable future, that makes our twenties so exciting and something worth being cherished rather than feared.
Although I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotions in the last few years, it’s precisely this, the sporadic nature of my trek that has made it not just any journey but my journey. We owe it to ourselves, to take the risk to hurt and to be hurt, to leap before we look, to be the fool, because by holding back we lose nothing but the opportunity to find the greatness we seek.
Being able to positively reflect on these last few years – some of the most challenging times in my life – is what makes me believe that I will look back again sometime from now, and laugh, realizing that it was all a beautiful struggle…