I have Christina here today, who is a burgeoning young author *claps EVERYWHERE!*. Her credentials also include being best friends with our AnnaSaurus Rex and general awesomness. Christina wrote an extremely thoughtful essay on getting closer to thirty and what that means for her and other millennials. So without further ado here is:
I’ve been told I’m very self-aware.
I was the kid sneaking up into a chair at the adult table, trying to gather some seeds of knowledge from those tall, wise creatures called Grown-Ups. I had a general sense of the way the world works by age ten. If you had asked me then what my life would be like now, I would have had a definite answer for you. It would have been deep and meaningful and you would have sworn you were talking to someone at least twice my age (plus or minus ten).
Then, of course, hormones happened. I lost focus on the future and gained an intimate knowledge of the movie Clueless.
Now, like many “twenty-somethings”, I’ve spent the last decade in a constant mess of insecurities and doubts sprinkled with small periods of manic creativity.
Does this sound like you, fellow Millennial? Do you too feel lost, confused, and tired of the constant pressure to be the best? Do you feel irritated by the ridiculous amount of choice we are faced with on a daily basis? Are you frustrated that while your parents were faced with ‘white collar’ or ‘blue collar’, we have a choice between ‘Cranial Massage Therapist’ and ‘Wall Street Acquisitions Manager’? Could you possibly share my irritation regarding the fact that you now need a MASTERS DEGREE to become a librarian?
Well then, you must fall into the league of Others; those bright and wonderful stars of this generation that have their sh*t together. I say that with Aretha Franklin-style R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I also say it with a pang of jealousy and a twinge of regret. How did I get left behind? If only Hermione had been around to lend me her time-bendy device.
I have by no means led a boring life. Being raised in the military tends to opt you out of that category. Arrogance is my least favorite trait, so we’ll just say it’s been a fun time growing up me. I realize most of this comes across as a major lack of ambition and a huge dose of whining. But there’s this Pink Elephant in the room, squatting here beside me as I write this. The poor giant sports the countenance of an Eeyore and wears a sign that says, “FAILURE”. He sure does have the ability to find me everywhere.
Am I a failure because I didn’t come up with the idea for Facebook or Spotify? Am I a failure because I haven’t come up with a Five Year Plan or moved to a new city to become the next Real Housewife? It is because I haven’t made my millions as a YouTube sensation yet!?
These are REAL questions I ask myself. These are questions I ask myself while I’m asking myself why there are so many varieties of peanut butter in the aisle at the grocery store.
I know I’m not the only one exhaustively overwhelmed by choice. Wrong choices lead to regrets. Bad decisions lead to failures. It’s rough out there for those who fail, right?
Now, cue year 28. A revelation occurs!
I start thinking something CRAZY.
With this thought I allow myself to breathe. Suddenly all of the stress, grief, anguish, pain, and confusion I’ve felt throughout the last ten years starts to dissipate. I no longer care!
Nothing terrible will happen if I never figure out how to write code. It doesn’t matter that it never occurred to me to intern at Google. I will be O.K. if I want to take my time to learn something meaningful. There will always be thousands of people out there with the same ideas that I have. This does not mean that their ideas are better than mine, or even that they will act on those ideas. I always have the potential to do something amazing.
I now embrace “Closer To 30” as a badge of honor. I am finally a place in life to feel comfortable in my own skin and my own mind. It’s as if some timer in my brain was counting down to this moment called ADULTHOOD.
What does this mean for the future though—this new spirit of confidence and courage?
It means that I can wipe all of the choices aside and make my own damn peanut butter. It means that I am staring into a new decade; one that allows me to decide what I think is cool. One that allows me to start a business and fail miserably at it without curling up into a ball and giving up. I can keep walking toward the third chapter of my first book ever. I can be completely comfortable with the fact that I never want to be someone who crochets things. And I am completely excited about that.
I’ve realized now, that my friend the Pink Elephant (I like to call him Titus) isn’t really made of failure. He’s made up of fear. Since pink is also the color of cotton candy (stay with me here), I now know that my fear is really just a bunch of fluff. I can hold onto it…or I can just eat it and move on with my life. And that is the best analogy I will ever make. Being in your twenties is really all about eating cotton candy. Now it’s time to grow up.
Thanks Christina for this thoughtful and insightful piece on growing up, adulthood and the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to get us there. What about you, Reader? Who is your Titus? If you’re still in your 20’s are you still choking down that cotton candy? Are you still doing so in your 30’s?
‘How I’m Getting Closer to 30’ was originally posted here.
Christina Patel loves to make people laugh. She’s got a passion for spicy food, varied accents, and British television. She will read anything, travel (almost) anywhere, and can always be counted upon for adventure. She loves to write about past experience, life as a Millennial, and anything that strikes her fancy. She is currently working on a novel. When she’s not writing, she can be found wearing sunglasses at night.
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Medium: Christina Patel: Explorer of Hearts, Reader of Souls
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