When The Rest Of The World Is Spinning All Around You And You Just Feel Stuck

Melissa O'Donohue
Melissa O’Donohue

It’s a time of transition, my mother says. I hear her voice through the cellphone receiver and imagine her at the sink of my childhood home, looking out over our backyard, admiring the little buds in the terracotta pots on our patio as they stretch towards the sun.

My mother is right. It is early May, the time for change. The graduation season, the wedding season, the moving season. The time when people shift with the breeze. When they realize the direction their lives will soon take. When they fall in love. When they grow up.

I am more or less amidst this change. Watching my roommates pack and move away. Watching my good friends cross the graduation stage, smiles stretched across their red faces. Watching shared I do’s of people who still seem like little kids. Watching goodbye kisses and hugs between lovers and family members all around me. It makes me dizzy.

There are so many confessions of love, so many ‘see you laters,’ so much suddenly becoming different.

And I am in the middle of it all. Watching. Waiting. Wishing.

It’s like the entire world is on fast forward and I’m stuck in pause. Or slow motion. Watching people and faces drift in and out of focus all around me, wondering if at some point it’ll all slow down and I’ll find my footing again.

It’s like running on a treadmill and stepping off to the side to catch my breath. Then gingerly putting a toe back on, trying to find that rhythm, that pace that suddenly feels so foreign.

I don’t know how to feel.

I acknowledge this, confess this like I’m in an AA meeting. Like those words will change the way the world sees me. As if allowing an I don’t know to escape from my lips will suddenly cause hundreds of faces to turn in my direction and stare.

I feel sad.

But I also feel anxious. And excited, and nervous, and lonely, and thrilled, and hesitant.

There are people I’ve known since diapers suddenly buying diapers for their own babies, childhood friends moving across the country, and younger siblings suddenly being old enough to leave for college.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this—the world flipped upside-down, everything changing so quickly.

I wasn’t supposed to feel strange in my own skin.

I’m a college grad, I should know what I’m doing, right?! I shouldn’t feel like the world is spinning all around me, like I’m the only one without the answers, like I’m a little kid skipping rocks on the pond, the days stretched long and empty out in front of me.

It’s a time of transition.

I hear my mother’s voice in my head again. She knows me better than I know myself sometimes. Transition means change. Means shifting. Means that things will be strange, but then eventually fall into place.

Transition means temporary.
I won’t always feel this lost.

I know my time will come soon. When I say my own goodbyes, my own ‘I love yous,’ when I find my own home and eventually my own man to walk down the aisle to.

I know I can’t rush these things.

But it doesn’t make me any less anxious. Any less confused when the world seems to be normal and I’m just a character on the sidelines, running in place.

But I’m not alone. I know this.

There are thousands of faces, thousands of bodies just as fumbling and confused and awkward and in slow motion as I am, of all ages, trying to navigate this thing called life.

It isn’t easy. And won’t be.

We’ll laugh, cry, roll our eyes, feel incredibly small, ridiculously happy, and just plain stupid. But we’ll figure it out. After time. After failing miserably. After picking ourselves up plenty more times than we thought we would.

But as I imagine my mother, probably getting dinner started, probably watching my dog basking in the late afternoon sun, or rolling around leisurely in the grass, I know she’s right.

This ‘unknown’ that I’m feeling is just a time of transition. Scary, exciting, painful, but necessary. I will be okay. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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