So, you’ve arrived at that dreaded fork in the road and it’s staring back at you like the next move you make will alter the course of history. You feel your chest tightening, your heart beat accelerating. You’re a giant ulcer in human form. You’re a hummingbird of stress. Everything has led to this, and now?
Oh, now you’re full-blown Stage 10 freaking out.
You don’t know what you’re supposed to do, or where you’re supposed to go. There’s a path in front of you, but there’s so much dust in the air, you can’t tell which way to go. You can’t tell which way you’ll be safe.
Maybe you just graduated college and the idea of “the real world” is sinking in. Maybe you’re looking at an empty bank account and a dead-end job. Maybe you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place in a relationship. Maybe you’re just lost and have no idea how you got here.
Psssst, come here. I like you, so I’m going to let you in on a secret.
There’s never a clear answer. Even when there is. By that I mean, we all live with “what ifs.” We all live with consequences, and the fantasy of what those consequences would have been if we’d gone a different direction.
Very few of us are clairvoyants. We don’t know the perfect solutions. We don’t sit with crystal balls in front of us. We’re all just trying to figure it out. And often, it’s trial and error.
The person you think has it most “together” is still a mess in their own way. To be a mess is to be human. We’re not perfect creatures. And, my god, if we were? How. Damn. Boring.
There’s a reason we watch movies and television shows with conflict. We want to see it. We’re not interested in happy cardboard cut-out characters who never have a single thing go wrong. We want the challenge. We want to watch it all unfold. We want to root and cheer, watch someone beat the odds. See them fail, and get back up.
And we like that because we understand it. We know how it feels to be disappointed. We know how it feels to be scared of royally f*cking up and letting down people around us. We know how it feels to compare ourselves to others and fear that we fall short.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all manual for how to approach life. You’re going to have to figure some things out on your own, and yes, that’s a very unsettling thought. But it’s the reality.
Of course it would be easy if we were all handed some simple guide on what to do at all times. People even try to write them! And everyone will have advice, will have answers they think you need and will be eager to share. But at the end of the day, it’s your life. You’re going to be the one to decide where it takes you.
If right now you’re feeling shaky and unsure, that’s okay. There’s this entire school of thought that your passion will immediately find you and BAM, that’s it. The right person will kiss you and BOOM, that’s it. A clearing will appear in the middle of nowhere and BING, you’ll just know that’s where you should walk. (Bing? Why did I say bing?)
Sometimes, it happens like that. But not always. And that’s fine. That doesn’t mean you’re screwing up. That doesn’t mean what you choose today will ruin everything in the future. You don’t always have to know exactly what you’re doing. Because honestly? Very few us really do.