When I was little, all I wanted was to be older. Older was a simile for freedom, maturity and above all, certainty. A type of certainty that came equipped with an innate answer for all of life’s questions. I used to think adults just knew and I wanted to have their conviction, but my understanding of adulthood was youthful naivety.
Because the first thing I’m realizing as I get older is that there’s just more uncertainty than before. There is more choice sure, more will to do as you please, but the risks and costs are higher. When you’re a kid, you have endless elasticity to make mistakes, because you have the reassurance of a bright future to rectify your errors. Your decisions aren’t as defining or detrimental; you can screw up over and over, and get up each time.
But now when you’re older. You aren’t just liable for yourself anymore and you don’t have the insurance of infinite time. The implications of your choices have more power now and you realize you aren’t as free as you thought you would be.
You also never know when you become an adult. I don’t think there’s a particular age. Sometimes, I wake up and think to myself, is it today? But then I am reminded of the truth and all of the uncertainty that is my life right now, and I realize I’ve never felt more scared. Suddenly, I want to regress back to childhood nights, when the only fear I had were the perceived monsters under my bed. The monsters now don’t just hide in the dark, they stand in front of me in daylight. On my drive to work when I wonder if what I’m doing is right. If it’s growing up or if it’s giving in? Is it cowardice or brave? I can’t tell which path is the righteous one; I can’t even decide what the paths are really.
Of course, you wouldn’t think I was this doubtful by looking at me. You would scoff me off as someone with her life together, someone going places, someone with drive. But that’s the beauty of perception; it’s what’s seen but not what’s truly felt. I can wear nice dresses, heels and more statement necklaces, I can list off “accomplishments” and I can make my Linkedin lengthier with more “achievements” but does that mean anything really? Am I really going somewhere or just circling the safe path? I can’t tell so I decided even if I was unsure, I would go down this path, and go through the loops of achievements everyone justifies as “going places.” Because that way, at least external voices won’t doubt you, just the one in your head.
I’m told continuously to fake it till I make it as if it’s universal advice for adulthood and it’s such a lie for everything I thought growing up would be. When do you fucking make it? And where are you making to anyway? Do you ever wake up one day and just know? Know what you are doing is right, who you love is right, who you are or striving to be is right? Because each time I think I am nearing the right choice in anything, I just see more questions. And for those who answer me with the bullshit of fate and to just be, I will scoff off your naivety. Because those people just nibble on mediocrity and I cannot think of anything more painful than that. What I am doing right now is just being, and it’s more numbing than anything else. The days go by faster and suddenly I realize I’ve x’ed off a grand list of accomplishments, but I still feel empty, and I wonder why. I convince myself to list more loops to overcome and go about plans to do so, but in the back of my mind, I know it won’t fix anything.
I am also told this doubt and misery is particularly unique to my 20’s. I am told it’s normal to be this scared. I am told to just bear with it and hold on because it will get better. I am told my 30’s or even 40’s will be better. But that’s what they told me when I was little, that’s the spoonful of lies they always feed; the only truth is that the future isn’t promising, it’s just unknown and uncertain.