When I grow up


Sometimes as the weight of the rest of my life settles firmly on my shoulders I have to concentrate on breathing calmly and evenly as the sheer magnitude of uncertainty registers in my brain.

Everyone reassures me that it’s okay to not know what I want to be when I grow up, and yet they don’t stop asking the question. My breath quickens. Each day that destination comes closer and my search for an answer becomes more frantic.

Stay calm. “What do I want to be when I grow up? What do I want?”

I didn’t imagine I would be here–twenty-four, single, almost graduated, lacking a definite direction. Scared.

My fear raises my pulse. “It wasn’t supposed to be this way” is the first thing that comes to my mind when the question is asked. What do I want? Not this.

Not so many decisions to make. Not to resettle again, the fourteenth time in six years. Not looking out at the big wide world to explore, still alone on my journey. My hurried breath settles into deep sad sighs.

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” I shout in my head. “You have so many things to be happy about and so many great opportunities.”

The guilt settles high in my chest underneath my collarbone, trapped by my shallow breath.

“Calm down, things are going to work out.” I reassure myself, and my breath becomes more even. “You don’t have to have all the answers right now, just keep working towards them.”

But while this answer successfully slows my pulse, it does nothing to unclutter the mess of expectations in my brain just above my right temple, at least that’s where it twinges when I shuffle them around to try and make some progress.

I circle my way through this internal argument daily, hoping one day I’ll finally get off the merry-go-round and reach nirvana, which is exactly what the peace of mind I receive will feel like. But until that moment,

I’m just a little lost.


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