Decade of Adulting
A few days ago I got a notification on my phone that my memory-cloud-data-whatever (can you tell I’m not tech savvy?) was nearly full. So, to make some space I started going through my old photos and deleting unimportant images. At first, seeing photos from the last year or so made me smile. It was a pleasant walk down memory lane: photos of my adorable twin nephews, good times with my friends last summer, beautiful shots from my birthday vacation last winter... However, when the photos switched from the last year to a few years ago and beyond, I started getting really sad.
I feel like I’ve lost people. Squandered time. That life is flying by me and perhaps I’m not doing all that I should. That somehow I’m getting older but not more... I don’t know... experienced? successful? better? It’s strange because on days when my emotional health is strong and my depression is nothing more than a lingering scar, I feel so accomplished. So proud of myself. Happy. I've had fun. I’ve seen things and done things and gone places... I have not squandered my life. I haven’t. I haven’t!
But seeing photos of 22 year old me, 20 year old me, even 18 year old me... it made a strange sense of nostalgia come over me. Not so much of judgement of my actual, current life but more like judgement of what my life could have been— what I thought it would be when I was thinking of my future at 18. It’s my ten year high school reunion coming up; I’m facing a decade of being an adult. What have I learned? What have I done? Would my 18 year old self be proud of who she’s become?
Even the most powerful, successful, beautiful, wonderful people in the world have moments of self doubt, I can say that, I can remind myself of that. It's the truth... but sometimes it’s hard to accept. It's hard to believe that that fact includes me. And I find it difficult to offer myself the same patience and forgiveness and kindness that I do to others.
So I had to put my phone down. I had to close the photo app. I had to get out of my apartment and walk around my neighborhood and look at all the other people running errands, eating lunch with their friends, trying not to laugh at their child who had let their scooter roll into a street sign, arguing with a comcast employee on the phone, washing the window of the coffee shop they wished they didn’t work in... I had to remind myself that day to day is allowed to be ordinary. Every moment doesn’t have to be picture-perfect, doesn’t need to be amazing. My goal in life isn’t to live fast and party hard, and blast through time like a superstar. No, my goal is be happy just living. Love my family. Have fun with my friends. Do my writing. Grow my plants. See the world.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. At all. I don’t know if my 18 year old self was mature enough to understand that concept, but I know my 28 year old self is.
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