My life is very not together. I am currently on a leave of absence from my job because I’d rather be broke than asking, “Chicken or pasta?” for the 256th time on a 15-hour plane ride. I have a liberal arts degree in something I have no desire to pursue as a career. I justify spending at least two days a week sipping $4.00 drip coffee from a hip coffee shop because... money buys caffeine happiness. I have sent out multiple cover letters over the past few months and have received a depressing number of replies back. Oh, and I’m 110% single.
So, I have no idea what I am doing.
I wish future me could whisper in my ear, “It’s all going to work out. You will be okay.” Present me would smile and say, “Cool! I’ll stop worrying. I’m moving on to greater things!”. Don’t get me wrong. Present me believes that this statement is true but, it’s hard to see the light when the tunnel is foggy.
What is it fogged up with? Well for starters, seeing everyone you grew up with taking engagement photos and buying houses in the suburbs is rough. It is especially rough when you struggle to even find a room in an apartment without seafoam green carpet and fewer than five roommates. Then add the never-ending exploration through Instagram to see the rest of the 20-something world living in vans in national parks, creating cute babies with names like Birdy and Dolly, and having a photographer boyfriend shoot every Oregonian coastal walk or Nashville coffee shop outing they have ever been on. But here’s the thing.
You don’t have to have it figured out.
No where in the universe does it say that you have to have your life figured out by (blank) age. While it seems like everyone else has their living situation, life partner, canine friend, and six figure career path figured out, they don’t. Everyone is on a separate and individual path in life. I know some of my peers who are running successful businesses now will go to Japan or France or Australia for the first time after they are old and gray. I have been to all of those countries multiple times before I turned 25 and maybe I will run a successful business when I’m sporting dentures and blue hair. Do you see what I mean? It’s okay. Your timeline is different than everyone else’s.
This concept is so easily forgotten and hard to grasp (especially by yours truly) because it's rarely talked about. Your entire life before your mid-20s is marked by events that you and your peers reached at the same time: puberty, obtaining your driver’s license, high school graduation, being allowed into bars, etc. Then, adulthood hits and no one tells you the big secret. From now on, everyone is going to reach different moments of their lives at different times.
That little secret is so freeing. There are no markers or finish lines. Life is just a walk to discover things at your own leisure and pace. This freedom also comes with clarity. It’s easier to see through the fog when you realize that the fog isn’t really there. It’s made up thanks to our endless hours of 21st-century comparison (thank you social media).
So what if I don’t have it figured out yet? I have time and options. I'll travel and spend money on overpriced vegan cookies because I can. That's my track right now and there's no use in comparing myself to others. Maybe I’ll figure out my life later on when I’m walking through a park rolling my eyes at all the couples picnicking on their Mexican blankets.