It’s been pretty interesting. Interesting like the time I realized I left take out Chinese in the back of my fridge for six months and now it seemed to have developed sentience and arms and legs. I swear it tried to bite me.
Oo, wow, I didn’t know it could do that.
As I get older, I am beginning to realize that none of us really ever figures it out. I always thought that I would arrive at a magical age where I would say, “Ah. Now I have all the answers. This is what I have been waiting for.”
When I was very young, that age was 14. Then 16. 18. 21. 24. 26. Now that I am 28, and a lot of my friends are Grown Up Fancy People, I am afraid that my suspicions of the past couple of years are being confirmed.
We’re all fakers. Fakers, just playing house.
We’re all, or most of us, just a bunch of kids, with varying levels of maturity, adaptability, sociability, accountability and graying hair, trying to look and act like we know what the fuck.
And we don’t.
We pretend—sometimes we pretend better than others. We talk big games, have cool grown up jobs, and act like we have successfully outgrown the various neuroses and bullshit that we disdain in others—commitment issues, mommy issues, space issues, death issues, obsessive issues.
And then we hole up for a weekend with two boxes of Reese’s Puffs cereal and Netflix and no human contact.
Monday morning, we pretend to be perfectly fine again.
Because, we’ve got it all figured out.
We are top notch, mature, upstanding citizens of society. We don’t leave dishes in the sink for three weeks, or engage in unhealthy relationships, or wonder if we’re ever going to feel like we’re grown up.
In the past six months, I’ve dug deep.
And I’ve realized.
I have nothing figured out.
Nothing is in my control.
The great thing about realizing this has been that I can let go of all of the shitty expectations and standards that I had set for myself, through the beliefs set up by the circumstances of my life.
I will have a super successful/stressful job. I will get married by this age. I will be a “good” wife. I will be happy. I will be this kind of person. This kind of daughter. I will never crack. I will never let anything bother me. I will be strong, always. I will overachieve. At all the things.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.
How exhausting life was, when I thought that if I tried to get an A, I would somehow win.
When I finally let go of those expectations, I broke. Cracked into pieces.
And the light came in. As they promised it would.
I began to discover things about myself that I never knew. Has that ever happened to you? It’s like getting to know a new friend…or sometimes, a weird stranger. It’s like observing a new trait or quality that has always been a part of you, but forced down so deep, for whatever reasons, that when it reveals itself it is like noticing that you have an antler growing out of the side of your neck.
When there is nothing left in our cup, we can fill it with whatever we want. We can decide what goes in, and what stays out.
Imagine—deciding exactly what we want our lives to look like: our loves, our jobs, our daily activities.
Well, we can.
We all can.
It simply requires letting go of everything we’ve been taught to expect.
A leap, where we find our wings on the way down… or up.
And if we can get past the terror of the unknown, we may just find that the mystery waiting to be revealed is far more gratifying, far more amazing than the normalcy of the mundane that we have been clinging to, even hoping for.
All it requires is a leap.
A refusal to settle.
A desire, to be free.
Will you join me?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May