To be honest with myself and anyone who may be reading this, I am probably the last person on Earth who should be blogging about being an adult. I’m a twenty-two year old college drop out who still lives with her parents… and on most nights I usually just drink and read books to my pets. Truthfully, the only adult-ish things about myself, aside from my legal ability to drink alcohol, are that I have a job, own a car, and pay my own bills (although not without the occasional help from mom to make sure I don’t have to choose between having car insurance and starving to death). Outside of that I don’t know the first thing a bout what the actual fuck I’m doing. I watch people who graduated at the same time as or even after me. They post wedding pictures, or pictures of their kids with funky numbered stickers on their baby fat bellies. I see college graduations and first homes. And it seemed for the longest like the ability to level up into adulthood came late for me… just like puberty.
My first question to myself was “what am I doing wrong?” and the answer was another question. “What are you even doing?” Don’t get me wrong here; I don’t envy anyone who is married with kids. My kids are my pets and that’s how it always will be. Hell, even my kitten talks back to me too much for my liking, even if I am probably wrong about what she’s saying. (‘Meow.’ ‘No, you are not hungry. You literally just ate. You just see me eating. Shut up.)
I don’t envy their lives, I envy their progress. Their ability to go out there and get shit done while I get the munchies and debate on whether I want to be adventurous and make mac n cheese or just eat another pack of un-toasted PopTarts.
In an attempt to gain some clarity one day, I went to the person who seemed to have her life the most together. I’m talking about who I like to call “an adultier adult”. Mid-thirties, successful parent, successful at work, happily married, and an overall cool person. I walked up and shared a smoke break with her one day, and while we stood outside I couldn’t help but think about how badly I seemed to be failing. My struggle with anxiety and depression seemed to be effortlessly ruining every aspect of my life, I sucked at my job, I never wanted to go home because my mom always seemed to be disappointed in me, and the guy I was sleeping with wanted to keep sleeping with me…. but not date me.
My lungs were full of smoke and my mind full of doubt when I looked to my left and saw her standing there. A success story in the flesh. I just had to know.
“How old were you when you finally knew what the fuck you were doing?”
I still don’t really know what sort of answer I was expecting. Did I want her to tell me that the answer to life is 37? Did I want her to tell me that I’d known soon enough or understand when I’m older? Maybe. But the answer I got is the one that I really needed to hear.
She laughed. She laughed HARD. And then she said: “I still don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I don’t think anyone does.”
What a disappointment. But also, what a relief. Does that make sense? We are all collectively lost. We may not all be struggling in the exact same ways, but we’re all struggling with something. We may not all be uncertain about the same things, but we’re all uncertain about something. And that’s what makes life worth living, because if we knew everything about our lives then would would be the point of living them out? It would be like reading a book and already knowing how it ends.
Now, months later, I’m starting to really feel a shift in my life. Things are changing. Do I know what I’m doing or where I’m going? No, not really. But maybe that’s okay. I’m doing something. I’m going somewhere. That’s a start.
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.”