My friend, Cristen, recently made a status on Facebook about how when she was a teenager, she thought that she’d have everything figured out by her late twenties. It got me thinking, and it doesn’t seem insane to assume that most of us did. Or at the very least, as an adolescent we figured adulthood would be different than it actually turned out to be.
It’s kind of crazy, right? As a young teen, I imagined I would get married around 24 and have three kids by the time I turned 30. I thought I would go to a four year college, graduate, and become a teacher. That was my “plan”. It seems like we all had at least some sort of framework, and a very small percentage of us actually followed through with said plan. And you know what? I think that’s awesome and extremely healthy.
Following an outline you created while you were going through puberty is kind of strange if you think about it. Sure, there are plenty of people who have a ton of life experience by age 15, but in general we can agree that all 15-year-olds have a lot of learning to do. Looking back, would you take your 15-year-old-self’s advice on sex, peer pressure, or how to act on a job interview? Probably not, right? So why would we let them dictate our life’s path?
It’s okay to not be where you thought you would be when you were a kid.
I think one of the main reasons our plans end up changing, though, is that we’re still kids at heart no matter how old we get. We’re much wiser than our 15-year-old counterparts; we’ve experienced way more and know our way around things better by now. But we’re still learning. We’re still growing, endlessly. We still, at our core, don’t really know how to be “adults”.
We still have to ask for help doing new things and procrastinate on deadlines as important as taxes. We still sometimes fashion our hair into a mohawk when it’s lathered up with shampoo, and think cookies taste better when they’re in the shape of a dinosaur. If you were given the chance to jump in an “adult” ball pit, you might hesitate, but only for a second. The idea of playing might not be “grown-up” or “professional” but it’s not only important for our mental health, it’s inherent in our nature.
We’re all just kids trying to figure out how to do everything in the best way. I still don’t know the difference between baked and broiled, and get really whiny when I’m sick. We just move along, and do our best to make the most of each day. Sometimes those days teach us new skills that we can use in the future! Maybe next time you won’t have to ask for help with that thing because you’ll remember how to do it., and onlookers will say something to you like, “Wow, you’ve got it all figured out!” or “You’re so put together!” and you’ll laugh, just like every single one of us and say back, “Hahah. No, I really don’t.”
Because if you have it all figured out, I think you’d be pretty fucking bored with this whole life thing.
Sometimes scrambling is the most entertaining thing we could hope for, and even if you feel overwhelmed with feeling like you’re not doing things the “right” way, I want you to know that you’re really doing a great job. I’m proud of you. Don’t compare yourself to your Facebook feed or people in your office. It’s silly. There’s plenty of stuff you know more about than they do, and we can all help each other out.
Just do what feels right, babe. Your gut knows what you need. Practice self love, and embrace your life’s journey, your decisions, and your progress.