This Is Not How My Life Was Supposed To Be

Nick Swift
Nick Swift

When I was a little girl I had my life planned out exactly. It was everything that would shape me into the woman I saw myself becoming. And it all was so possible, as though saying it out, loud meant that all those things would really happen, exactly when I planned them to.

By 18 I would lose my virginity. I would move to the city by 23. By 25 I would have my dream job. I would be engaged by 28. Married at 30. Pregnant at 32. Give or take a year or two, and fill up the in between with all that good life stuff. Until one by one, year after year, after every monumental birthday that was supposed to encompass my life’s greatest happiness up until that point did not happen—like whatsoever and not even close.

I’ve tried to make sense of it. Because when things don’t go according to plan it has to be for some bigger reason. You’ll learn from the experience, or lack thereof, and from there when the time is right, you will be destined to something else that’s destined more for your life. But again and again, over and over, I couldn’t stop thinking, “But this isn’t how it should have been.” It’s a phrase that pounds my head.

It gets worse and worse, sometimes, when I feel like I am so deserving of so many things going right for once, and they don’t—like whatsoever and not even close. It’s so easy for everybody else, it seems, accomplishing these big life things. But my biggest comparison lies with myself and the idea I once had for living this “perfect life.”

I am only getting older, as my never-ending quarter-life crisis keeps throbbing. But it is what it is. There can be no other choice but for me to follow this rugged, roundabout course that life is pulling me on. And on that exhausted path, and holding on like hell, I can only dream that one day I’ll get out of my head and learn (shockingly for once) to honor my present moment and hope to be truly happy.

“But this just isn’t how it should have been. It just isn’t. It isn’t. It isn’t.”

But what if it is? What if I’m just not meant to be the person I had once “decided” I’d become?

It’s like looking at your life through a different Instagram filter. It’s how you change your mindset that makes everything look different. And I do want to change. I don’t want to look at 30 like it’s death. I don’t want to calculate so hard the next two years, feeling as though I’m running out of time to make everything happen now. I want to realize how lucky I am to be this free, to have the opportunity to change my mind, and to know that there are so many great surprises left in store for me.

Just imagine for a moment that my life had gone exactly according to plan. I would know how my entire life would be before it ever happened. And there’s a death in that, too.

It’s just a mind f*ck, this big little life. It’s treacherous and full of vices and is stir-crazy and confusing and a complete mess, to be honest, sometimes. That’s just where I am these days. But I won’t think too much about it.

I’m getting out of my head, starting now. TC mark

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