Next year I turn 30. If you had told teenage me that I would be nearing the end of my third decade of life without a clue as to what I’m going to be, I believe the words “loser” or “bum” or “poo for brains”* would have come to mind. Who doesn’t know what they want by the time they’re thirty? That’s, like, really old.
My self-talk has not always been kind. There have been spans of time when my lack of career and any stability in the societal sense of the word have frustrated me to the point of emotional breakdown. Just going out to bars and being asked what I did for a living always filled me dread and a feeling that I was looked down upon by whoever was seeking that information—a feeling that no one else put on me but myself, might I add. I created a story in my head of what someone else was thinking of me without any proof of what they were actually thinking because that’s entirely sensible. Right? In fact, it’s still a favorite hobby of mine. The thrill. The rush. The complete shame. Does it get any better? (Yes, you say? Because that sounds awful? Correct, my friend. Correct. )
I’m not a teenager anymore, and any opinions or strongly held beliefs that flowed through my juvenile brainwaves have been challenged, pushed, pulled, tied into Prusik knots and then unraveled again, and it took being in my twenties to shatter those barriers and structures I had built and believed were essential for a “normal” and “successful” life. Over the years I have acquainted myself with countless people whose stories are vastly different and yet thematically similar to my own. So many of us do not know what we’re doing or where we’re headed. It could be argued that no one knows where they’re headed, but I will save the fatalism debate for another post (you’re welcome).
The overused cliché of “it’s the journey, not the destination” has often eluded me. There wasn’t a time I thought, “You know, Romania can wait. I’m really enjoying this 19-hour travel day.” I did understand the sentiment, but I didn’t fully grasp it until the past year or so when I realized that after all of these years of indecision and doubt in one aspect of my life, I had unconsciously filled the rest of it to the brim with adventure and novelty. The point is to seek, not necessarily to find.
Teenage me may have called “poo brain” on my inability to land a career, but teenage me also had other hopes and dreams that I’ve fulfilled beyond my wildest imagination. Out of all of this, ultimately the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that inaction is the true enemy and in response to not knowing what to do, we just have to do something. This ambiguous piece of advice has somehow become my most useful and whenever I come to a figurative stand-still, it’s the number one thing I say to myself. Just do something.
In conclusion, I’d just like to say: but seriously, of all the people in the world, not a single one of you told me before my twenties that being lost for most of it is a thing that could happen and that it’s normal? This just flew under the radar? Help a girl out! I mean, better late than never but I could’ve used this scoop ahead of time F… Y… I.
*You know, the early 2000’s trend of calling everyone “poo for brains”