There’s a lot of uncertainty in the in-between periods of life. A lot of people around my age are going through times of major transition from new marriages to starting families. Others are moving to new cities, starting new jobs or graduate programs and are really making noticeably adult-sized moves in the game of life.
I just want to say: I am so damn happy for all of my friends! We all have such an interesting variety going on right now and I could not appreciate it more. It’s funny how when we’re kids, our development and milestones are measured under such rigid terms and the range of what is considered “normal” is so much more restrictive. We were able to look around and say, yeah I know my ABC’s just like all of my school buddies, cool. Without even realizing it, we found so much comfort in knowing exactly where we ranked among classmates and other kids our age.
Now, instead, as adults, there is SUCH diversity in what it looks like to be successful and “on-track” with our peers. Really, after a certain age, the parameters start to widen and there is no set formula for measuring success. Now that I’m on the last half of my 20s, I’m finally realizing the nuances of what that can mean.
I recently found an old draft for a blog post I never published in which I spent a whole lot of energy basically tearing apart the idea of going straight to graduate school right out of undergraduate. Now that 2 formative years have passed, I recognize easily that my scathing attacks on the concept of graduate school were my attempts to fortify my situation at that time. I could explain it away by saying we were just so vulnerable teaching in Korea, there was so much we had to learn and absorb and just deal with without the support of vetted friends and family. However, who isn’t vulnerable in their first job out of college? Who doesn’t feel susceptible to criticism of your life choices, especially in your 20s?
Now I’m glad I never published that draft because I’ve thankfully grown past that sort of child-like tendency to put down others in defense of myself. No, I don’t have all my shit together, but really, who does?! We are all fighting similar battles this decade coming into our own as the adults we will be for the rest of our lives and it’s both scary and exhilarating all at the same time. All of a sudden, the consequences of our choices have such gravity; each new relationship brings with it the possibility of permanence, each new city might very well become home base.
I’m so proud of the wonderful humans I get to be surrounded by, what gems you all are. Instead of seeing the apparent gaps in our successes, I’ll choose to see inspiration. We all are on such different life paths and that is a beautiful thing. No, I’m certainly not buying houses or getting married or having babies just yet and maybe I never will. I’m loving the surprise of how the years are unfolding in ways I never imagined. 2015 alone has been an incredible adventure in some unexpected ways. So far I’ve worked in a coffee shop and a book store, I’ve tutored the coolest bilingual kids I’ll ever meet. Then I spent the summer back in Italy living with and becoming a part of a family while falling in love with life all over again on the back of a scooter. I have way less money in my bank account than I should at 25 years old but I’ve never felt so rich.
I make big plans and I fail big. I’ve changed what I say I’m doing next all the freaking time. This year I planned on moving to Shanghai to teach English and then going to graduate school at the University of Manchester and neither of those things happened. Things really change and that is good; I exist on my own terms. I’ve learned to see changes in plans as power. I never know how things will work out but I am more thrilled knowing that the surprise will be better than I imagined.
“I go to seek a great perhaps” François Rabelais