My main priority right now doesn't have to be where I'm going, it's where I am. I am here, in this moment, right now, and this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
This is a spontaneous edition of "Things I Hate Tuesday." Today, I hate complacency and the fact that many people in my life seem to be ok with it. I'm not, because it drug me down a hole that is proving to be very difficult to get out of. If that's you... I hope this helps.
This is a life update that might not be pretty because I'm not putting a filter on it. I recently went back home for the weekend to visit and catch up with some friends and a lot of acquaintances. The one phrase I heard more than "it was so great to see you" was "your life looks so cool." My life looks cool? According to Instagram, maybe. But walk a day in my shoes and cool will be the last adjective that comes to mind.
I used to jokingly say that as a Communication major I studied how to be good at social media. In retrospect, that's more true than I would like to admit. I take a photo about 38 times before I find the right one and recently I actually paid for an app to edit photos. It's getting ridiculous. My number of likes have gone down since graduation due to the fact people are finally rid of me in real life so they got rid of me on social media, too. I don't blame them, I probably don't follow half of you reading this post. My likes are about half of what they used to be, and I admit, it was weird at first. I have friends who get almost 1,000 likes on a photo and it really makes me question why I celebrate when I hit 85.
So sure, my life looks "cool" on social media. Because who the hell posts photos of bad days unless they look hipster and trendy? For those of you who think my life is absolutely wonderful, please refer to my post about depression. 5 months since then and I'm here to say... it doesn't go away. Sometimes you just really won't feel good enough, you'll question what you're doing with your life and where you're going, and being depressed is a miserable state to be in.
Last night was the worst it's been in a while and I'm sharing that with you because I hate knowing that someone out there needs help and probably isn't asking me because my life looks "too cool" to help them. I am undoubtedly in a rut right now. I see the light but can't figure out how close or far it is and it's stressing me out. People think it's because I'm figuring out who I am and what I want to do with my life but that's not the case. I know what I want to do with my life but right now I have other things that I'm simultaneously trying to juggle and it's getting overwhelming and exhausting.
When I try to talk to my family about this, they simply say "well this is where you need to be now to get where you're going later." I call this complacency - being ok just sitting miserable because you hope one day you'll just start doing something else. I don't believe that. I don't believe in living one day, one minute, one second doing something you don't want to do. Go full force into your dreams. I'm trying to do that. I'm really trying.
It's strange because you want to think that one day you'll wake up and your life really will be the way you portray it to people - happy and sunny all the time. I think pursuing your dreams will bring hard days too. But those hard days will end with a goal in sight and not just a placeholder for what you want to do.
I feel like I keep failing myself. (And now I feel like I'm failing you, if you're even still paying attention to this.) My mind is going in 1,000 directions, much like this post. I'm really not sure what is going on in my brain or how to pull myself together. I keep wondering if I could change the little decisions I've made in my life, how different things would be or how much happier I could be.
I have come to terms with the fact that people mess up, but still haven't come to terms with the fact that I mess up too. I am allowed to do stupid stuff and make a mess of myself. It's ok to live an unfiltered life. Eventually things will get better one day, the sun will shine, and I won't need to edit that day of my life to make other people think that everything is alright.
I am here now. No matter how I got here or what decisions led to this moment. I am here, stuck in a rut. And it's time to pull myself out because my dreams and aspirations can't go on unless I do.
After several years of absolute chaos - constantly being on the go, working, studying, getting involved, spending approximately 6 hours a day at home (usually spent planning my next day and trying to get a few hours of sleep in) - it's amazing how one can feel when life (also know as "the storm") starts to slow down.
I spent the last year planning and plotting my next 10 years, only to find out I am not doing anything that I had anticipated. Talk about a storm - trying to tell life how to run its course is no easy task and let me tell you, life always gets its way.
You don't really know what's happening in your life until it's already happened. I noticed this for the first time yesterday when I came to the realization that I'm in "the calm."
I was headed to the bus to go to a friend's house. It was a Tuesday and we were going to watch the Bachelorette because we went to an Indian dinner on Monday and missed it when it aired. Just to be clear, we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. Anyways... I noticed that a storm was definitely on the horizon. It's summertime, the sun sets around 8:30-9ish, so you know something is wrong when you walk outside to a pitch black sky at 6:30 in the evening.
I knew we were under a tornado watch but "that never happens here." I boarded the bus. Within minutes, I saw rain pouring harder than I ever have before - and I lived in Charleston, South Carolina a month ago! It was insane. Lucky for me (sarcasm), we were at my bus stop so it was time for me to get off and head out into the rain. I get off the bus and I'm pretty sure after 2.3592 seconds, I was drenched.
What normally would have irritated the hell out of me actually made me smile. In fact, I started laughing hysterically. People hiding under the awnings of the buildings I passed probably thought I was insane. In that moment, I realized I was happy.
Happy? Me? HAPPY? There's no way. I just left a long day of training for work. I graduated college which was supposed to be the best years of my life. I am living in a new city away from all I've ever known. Key the internal argument:
"You can't be happy, Madison. You don't even know what you're doing."
"Oh shut up, I can too be happy because I am happy and there's nothing you can do about it."
Even though I was in the midst of a torrential downpour, I knew in that moment I had hit the calm after my storm. The years of overthinking everything, pulling all-nighters to get work done, running around without an internal red light all led to this - the moment that everything would stop and slow down. It's a time for me to stop trying to figure out me so I can actually just be me.
This version of me is happy. This version of me has a job. This version of me is on my way to a friend's house to hang out and make tacos. This version of me was laughing at herself. This version of me had reached the end of a storm.
I know chaos will come again someday, and much more will follow. But today it is calm. The ground around me is damp and I hear drops from the trees. The sky is pink and orange and tells the birds that it's clouds are empty and it's safe to fly and sing. It's a sign that a storm has just passed. Umbrellas are coming down and people are exiting their safe havens. I know that a car might quickly drive by and spray me with water from a puddle. I know that I might slip and fall. But those things don't scare me. Because today I am happy. Fear and happiness do not go together and today I choose happiness.
If you know the path you want to take in life, the means to accomplish that goal, and know the secret to work/life balance... then this post is not for you. If you wonder why you can't seem to set a tangible goal or even visualize what exactly it is you want to do when you "grow up" (whatever that means)... then I hope this helps.
After three years of college, five majors, and still an undecided career path, I have truly understood what it is like to feel like the world will come to an end if I don't make up my mind and fast. But as of late, I have come to terms with some crucial facts about life, and one of them is arguably the most important of all: it's OK if you don't know what you're doing.
In true "if I knew then what I know now" fashion, here are 5 important things to remember for anyone struggling with uncertainty that is accompanied by mental breakdowns, all-nighters, and anxiety.
1. You just have to show up.
There is an old adage that says, "Life is like gym class. You get an F if you don't show up, but you get at least a B if you do."
That couldn't be more true.
When you are in that stage of life when you just have no clue - you don't know why you're doing what you're doing or if it's preparing you for anything - just show up. Wake up, live life, and go through the motions for a while. Eventually, things will take a turn; it might be tomorrow, it might be next year, but if you don't show up you're going to miss out and that would be a travesty.
2. Life has a crush on you.
Remember when you were in elementary school and you were madly in love with that kid in your class? Yeah, me either...
But really, you had a mad crush on them!
When you "liked" someone at that age, you were mean to them to let them know how you felt. Looking back, that was a silly way to approach things, but that's the way the cookie crumbled.
Well, life is still in elementary school and just because life is mean to you sometimes that doesn't mean that it doesn't have a crush on you, in fact, it's quite the opposite - it means life is madly in love with you!
So roll with the punches and know that the mishaps and hiccups are life's way of telling you how awesome you really are.
3. The world is your oyster.
When you start putting your dreams in a box to fit a certain mold, you limit yourself. Not knowing exactly what it is you want to do allows you to try as many new things as you want until you find what it is that you love. There is a world out there full of off-the-wall career paths that are much more exciting than the 9-5 office life, you just have to explore a bit.
4. Everyday is an adventure.
"I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Every adventure is preparing you for something, even if you aren't quite sure of what that something is yet. Sometimes when days just seem pointless and unproductive, it is setting you up for what's next. You will look back on your life and know that each day was integral for your life and where you are headed.
Choose to make today, and everyday, an important, meaningful adventure.
5. Find inspiration in each and every day.
Personally, I am a Kid President fanatic because he always challenges me to see the world differently and live better with each passing day.
Whatever it may be, find what inspires you - it might be something new everyday or it might be a quote that really gets you through a month. If its inspiring you and making you better, hold on to it. I have found that people live better when their lives are inspired. And when you don't know what's next in life, at least you'll have a positive outlook to get you through!
So don't worry that you don't know what exactly you're doing, because sometimes all you can do is sit back and make the world more awesome.
"The time to be awesome is now." - Kid President
The truth of the matter is, you might think you know what you want to do, and maybe if you're lucky, you will stick to that path. But more often than not, you will change your mind and change it again. So make plans to not make plans and let life happen.
Sending you good and positive vibes.