I think your twenties are …
I have trouble filling in this blank. Horrifying, Awful, Confusing, Frustrating, Amazing, Brilliant, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
The truth is, no matter how much we want to deny it, we don’t have a f***ing clue what we’re doing. And like a sick joke, the more we try to figure it out, the more lost we become. As if we are wandering in the woods and the harder we try to find a clearing, the more entangled in the brush we become.
Take me for example. I graduated high school with a plan. I would move as far away as possible, major in journalism and travel the world, eventually settling down to write a few best-selling novels and dote on my fabulously handsome husband, and three brilliant kids. There, it was settled.
And I really had myself fooled. My first year at college I stumbled through writing courses and mass communications electives, until one brilliant advisor suggested I switch my focus to Public Relations. “It’s journalism with parties.” I like people, I figured. So, with a swift flick of the pen, and a few red tape hurdles, I had moved over to the dark side.
Three years later, I still foolishly believed I had it all figured out. Then, I blinked and it was spring semester of my senior year and time for me to decide what to do post-graduation and suddenly I was terrified. I knew I could move home and take some time off, but after making an executive decision four years ago to move as far away as I could get, this seemed counterintuitive. But I did. Now the dreaded question was sputtering out of every mouth, “what will you do now that you’ve graduated?” Aka “what will you do with your life, you uninspired, lazy bum?”
That was the problem, though. I had no idea what would make me happy. I knew that really good chocolate, and long runs, and time with my two dogs put a smile on my face. I knew that I was never happier than when traveling to new places and exploring new cities, but I also knew that now, more than ever, my family was where my heart felt lightest.
One thing that has never changed is my love of writing. When I’m happy, I write. When I’m sad, I write. When I feel just about any emotion at all, I write. This is my way of figuring out who I am.
So, I figured that there would be no better way to untangle the convoluted mess that is my life plan than by writing about how truly messy life gets in your twenties.
What luck I have. I graduated just at the low point of the greatest economic downturn in the past 20 years. Jobs that had been filled since the birth of companies were suddenly being eliminated to cut costs. Two years earlier I could have had my pick of any job I desired (that is, of course, if I could have decided what it is I wanted to do), and expected a salary that I might actually be able to live off of. Now, I spent four months searching the corners of every job site, e-mail blasting every contact I had ever acquired, stuffing my resume into the hands of any casual acquaintance, and dressing up for interviews across the state…All without a single offer.
Although it was incredibly liberating to spend a summer without a single responsibility besides eventually waking up at some point in the afternoon, I started to go somewhat batty. One particularly beautiful July evening, I went for a long run. It was one of those perfect evenings when you are so consumed by the way the light penetrates the delicate green canopy that three miles turns into four, and before you know it, you are in a part of the neighborhood that you’ve never seen before. It was this evening that I decided to run a half-marathon. I took on my training with the same energy one might devote to a new job, and so I spent many a summer evening jogging around the neighborhood burning off calories and frustration.
It wasn’t until late September that my childhood best friend’s father called with a job opportunity. There was an opening at his company and he thought I’d be a perfect fit for the position. I specifically remember this phone call coming after a three day stretch of wearing the same pajamas and never once leaving the house. It was time for a job.
Everyone always tells you that you can make anything happen, that if you really put your mind to something, you can achieve anything. They leave out the part about how hard finding something to put your mind to can be.
All my life I’ve wanted something big. I’ve always known I was destined for greatness, or at least that I would lead a great life. And although I feel very blessed, there are times when I just simply feel lost. I imagine many feel this way from time to time. I think my biggest frustration is that I feel uninspired. My biggest dream in life is to be inspired and inspirational. To move and to make people want to move. To shake things up, get people thinking, doing, acting, changing.
Time to make moves. Time to figure it out again. Time to for a little inspiration...