Questions I Have For People Who Have Their Life Figured Out

Hello Person Who Has Their Life Figured Out,

Have you been sent to this planet to make me feel bad? I went to your apartment the other day and was overwhelmed by how grown up it felt. You had three candles burning and it smelled like stability — a scent that I can’t seem to find anywhere — and you offered me some tea (WHO DOES THAT?) and I noticed that you also had freshly cut hydrangeas on your coffee table. For the record, I also have hydrangeas on my coffee table. I bought them with a Dean & Deluca gift card I got for Christmas and I’ve found that their presence soothes me. The other day though, I knocked over the vase and water spilled everywhere. I couldn’t find a rag so I halfheartedly soaked it up with some paper towels. For some reason, I never refilled the vase so the flowers wilted and eventually died. My hydrangeas are dead. Yours are alive. They serve as a parable of my life lately, of where I’m going as a 25-year-old and where I’m not. The lesson is vague but there: I bought the hydrangeas. I couldn’t keep them alive.

You’re secretly crazy, right? Tell me you’re cray cray. Beneath the grown up apartment and copious supply of band-aids and hydrogen peroxide and the lemon water you keep in a pitcher in a fridge, you’re paying your bills late or your boyfriend is a jerk or you slept through your best friend’s birthday party, right? You’re losing it. When people ask how you’re doing, you say, “I baked fresh bread today and mopped the floors and sent an important work email. I also bought a spice rack. HAVE YOU SEEN MY SPICE RACK?” You stand there holding the spice rack motionless like it’s supposed to answer the question for me. “How do you think I’m doing? I own a freaking spice rack!”

I wish it were all a mirage, I wish this were BS posturing, but I don’t think it is. I think you’re a person who genuinely doesn’t have to worry about being on the right track and being where you’re supposed to be. It comes naturally to you. I bought the hydrangeas to be a grown up. You bought the hydrangeas because you thought they were pretty.

Your Facebook makes me feel bad about myself. I have over a thousand friends on that damn website and yet, somehow, your status updates rise to the top like a diamond rising from a sea of crap. They say a variety of different things but I read them all the same way: “Today I went important places because I’m a person who has their life figured out. I’m going to get married, have a job and be someone’s parent. Go me!” It’s so easy to make fun of someone who goes the conventional route in life. You feel almost bad for them because it might appear as if they’re just following a script. These aren’t things they necessarily want to do but they feel like they should. But you know why I can’t make fun of you, Person Who Has Their Life Figured Out? Because you’re genuinely happy. These are your choices, these are your own desires, and they just so happen to be very vanilla. You’re not struggling. You aren’t a struggler. Must feel nice.

Are you aware of any of this? Do you know that you could be a person who kills the flowers, who doesn’t burn candles, who doesn’t have a healthy lover? The thing that’s so fascinating about people who have their life figured out is that they’re rarely aware of the alternative. The right choices are effortless to make. They don’t know any different.

One day I’ll be someone who has band-aids in their medicine cabinet and has a dog and bakes bread for fun and LOLs. But that day isn’t today. I guess the one good thing about being someone who doesn’t have it all figured out is that you’re able to see real growth. The changes are palpable. You see yourself evolving, which can often be a beautiful process. I don’t have it figured out but I know more than I did yesterday. It must be boring to always know. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • mp90909

    You described me perfectly. Do you hate me because of that?

    • NoSexCity

      In a word, yes.

  • Steven Timberman

    I’m 24 and this very much describes where I’m at. This is the first time we’re seeing true-blue separation between those who have it figured out and those who stumble into everything. Between the people who are disciplined enough to keep to a schedule and those of us who just sorta… do things occasionally.

    All I know is that I really wish facebook had an app that blocked all the profile pictures of married couples. That’s juvenile and petty, I know. But damnit, I’m at least self-aware that I am juvenile and petty. 

    • Alexis Carek

      When can we start working on this app and can it please have a block-babies-only option?

    • serena

      This is the first time we’re seeing true-blue separation between those
      who have it figured out and those who stumble into everything. –wow this is so daunting :-(

      • Steven Timberman

        I didn’t mean it to be daunting! I just always think of that scene at the end of Community’s pilot. Jeff Winger is confused as hell because he’s never had to work hard before, that he’s coasted on his natural smarts and therefore never learned how to actually work.

        And now I’m older and at the point where I really could use stuff like a focused work ethic but I’m woefully under equipped to find one. And of course I can’t bitch about it, because that makes me a total cunt. 

        Oh, woe is me, I never learned how to practically function as a person! Talk about your white whines…

    • Sarah N. Knutson

      Me too, to everything you just said.

    • Guest

      i wish there was an app that would delete facebook for everyone altogether.

  • Mr. Popularity

    wait, I showed you my spice rack?

  • Egle Makaraite

    This is really nice. :) But no one always knows…

  • Sammy G

    Hon, you’re aware that the hydrangeas were dead the moment they were cut? Like, putting them in a vase with water doesn’t keep them alive.

    • ryan o'connell

      i mean i didn’t, which means that i definitely dont have it figured out obvi

    • Gregory Costa

      I suppose it depends on how you define death of a hyndrangea.  I mean, cellularly it’s still fine following the snip, even with severed xylem and phloem. There’s no cessation of heartbeat or brainwaves.  Profound philosophical stuff right there.  Think about it.

  • Alezza

    How do you know that person is genuinely happy. Sometimes even people who have it figured out have doubts. Yes, it’s nice to have my life figured out – but sometimes I miss doing crazy stuff, living the adventurous, chaotic freedom. But somehow seeing that it’s not the “right” grown-up thing to do makes it difficult. Even people who have their life “figured out” are still re-figuring sometimes. ;) good luck on your journey. Signed: A married 28 yr-old with a spice rack and a cat ;)

    • serena

      id trade lives with you for a while if i could, believe me. signed: a crazy, 21-year old, party girl

      • Guest

        drinking too much alcohol is not necessarily adventurous and fun.

  • Asdf

    You know what they say about assumptions…

  • Morgan Kelley

    i have 5 pieces of furniture i bought by myself and now i don’t know what else to do to be a grown up. buy a swiffer mop thing? why doesn’t dust go away on its own? how does it accumulate so rapidly? I WANT ANSWERS.

  • Rae Gross

    People who seem to have it all together either are faking it, or went through something serious at a young age to make them feel the need to grow up fast (trust me, there is some instability in their lives). In my case it is my family, I have to be sane because they are cray cray!

    • Anonymous

      When you’ve seen the abyss stare right back at you, the tea and the spice racks start to make sense. It’s nice to find comfort where you can get it. 

  • Montyclift1920

    the key is to stop comparing yourself to other people.

  • DL

    I fell in love with this site when I read “Never Date a Nice Boy,” and this the best thing I’ve seen since. Sorry, that’s not to say TC isn’t consistently good — it is — but this one, like “Nice Boy,” made, idk, my heart flutter or some shit. Thanks for this, Ryan. You’re doing good things. 

  • Jordana Bevan

    “You had three candles burning and it smelled like stability”HA! Ryan! Yes! You got your groove back!

  • Kai

    It’s easier to fake having it together than actually have it together. Or at least that’s what I’ve decided to focus on.

  • This Guy

    Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone lives according to their own rules. Plus what you are seeing is only on the surface. Who knows what hides behind that facade. I myself am one of those who has it figured out. I have a nicely decorated place, got a good paying job straight out of college, and have been in meaningful relationships. The “right” thing comes easy to me. But in order to get there I worked 60 hours on top of going to school full time. I started working at the age of 13 cleaning bathrooms. I did not come from a good home either. My parents were divorced and both suffered from PTSD/depression.  I did not come money. I had to pay for everything I own today including my education. But what all of that has taught me is to persevere. To work my butt off and get to this place that is so vanilla. So, what I am trying to say is don’t compare yourself to others. Live life. Enjoy every moment that you are given. 

    PS: I had to google hydrangea 

  • Steven Schwab

    Doesn’t it make you  SO excited to turn thirty?

  • Tanya Salyers

    This makes me really depressed.

  • TuraLura

    They may seem to have their life figured out right now, but wait 7-10 years and see how many of the currently figured-out are divorced, on psych meds and completely confused about the choices that seemed so clear to them in their 20s. 

    It’s a lot better to get your sh*t together in your 30s than in your 20s- you’ll have a much clearer idea of what you really want, and much less concern about whether your choices seem grown up and correct to others, trust.

  • Melissa Messer

    My candles and obsession with cleaning my apartment help me to distract myself from the fact that I have no damn idea where my life is going. Maybe these put together people are just really good at faking it.

    Forget flowers though, buy fake ones. That crap is no joke.

  • Gregory Costa

    You have a legion of followers who want to have your children, who want to marry you, who want to be your bff, and exclaim that you understand them more than any other writer on Thought Catalog…and you’re only 25.  I daresay you’re doing much better than many of those who have figured out their lives. 

    • Irakli

      how does he have a legion of followers really? I am not hating I just don’t see that at all

      • Gregory Costa

        Hyperbole and my own ignorance, my good man.  I know nothing about military units other than legions…so he got stuck with having a legion of followers.

    • Anonymous

      haha ive read a couple of your comments, marry me pleaseee

      • Gregory Costa

        Will do! What’s your style of engagement rings?  Flashy or classy?

      • Anonymous

        How about the honeymoon first? I was thinking bout cuddling it up in berlin at a brothers grimm sort of cottage.

  • Charlie.

    Ryan, someone like you will probably never be that fixed. You will find happiness and stability, but not that kind.
    We all want to be other people sometimes.

  • Jen

    For the record, this describes my apartment to a T, but I have no fucking clue what I’m doing with my life. I’m a total mess on the inside!

    • guest

      me too!

  • ggg

    We all know that an orderly house is a sign of disorderly life.

    • Rachel

      I like this theory quite a lot

    • guest

      I felt this way when I walked into my ex-boyfriend’s parent’s house. Their house was the most immaculate, perfect house I had ever seen but I later found out about so many skeletons in the closet regarding their relationship. Their house and relationship also lacked a lot warmth. 

    • Anonymous

      hmm, well not necessarily either. I mean, i’ve met some who are genuinely happy and they have every freaking thing going on. It’s terribly annoying.

  • guest

    I clean obsessively and focus on having a perfect home because it’s one thing I can control. It makes me feel like I’m grown up when I’m really not at all. 

    • Mung Beans

      whoa, dark

    • Anonymous

      thanks mate

  • Anonymous
  • Mung Beans

    “My hydrangeas are dead.  Yours are alive.”  

    you just summed up all my feelings about the girl who was my best friend in high school

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