I’m one of those women who thought they’d have it all figured out by the big 3-oh. I assumed that there would be some magical moment of clarity when the clock struck midnight on my 30th birthday and that I would be flooded with inner peace, insight and self-confidence.
I also thought I’d be through with purchasing skincare items with salicylic acid on the ingredients label, but that’s a different post. Adult acne begone!
I always pictured my 30 year old self as more or less a kick ass version of me; just one who walked taller, sat up straighter and could stand to sit still in the present moment for well, more than just a moment.
Yeah, not so much. Unfortunately all of these books I’ve read, lectures I’ve attended, advice I’ve been given; well, they didn’t decide to suddenly manifest themselves into practice as I naively thought they would. I don’t all of a sudden know exactly what my purpose is, precisely what I want out of this life or how I plan on making all of my wildest dreams come true.
I just know that I have them, dreams I mean, and lots of them.
I also know that I am not willing to give them up.
Despite my background in psychology*, clinical training and heaps of readings on how to get my ‘Zen’ on, my mind consistently drifts out of the ‘now’ and straight into daydream-mode, I second-guess myself on occasion and become terrified when I think I’m making the wrong decision.
Annnnnnd I still slouch. I’m slouching right now.
Despite all of these grand plans I had for my 30 year old self, and how happy I am to be where I am in life, sometimes I actually feel more lost than ever.
What I find most difficult about this whole ‘next chapter’ nonsense is that there are just TOO MANY directions in which it can go; so many directions I can fully envision it going (see: daydreams) and in which I want it to go. There are so many things I want to learn, experience, accomplish; places I want to see and people I want to help.
It can feel a bit overwhelming (see: adult acne).
Sometimes it feels as though if I make one wrong turn or one wrong ‘choice’, all of these dreams will fall to the wayside; that I will somehow lose my chance and squelch my goals.
Luxury problem #4,735: Having ‘too many choices’.
I know how this sounds. I feel guilty writing this. I feel ashamed for feeling this way, but I do.
What makes it all worse is that when others come to me with similar worries, I am actually quite good at advice giving. I genuinely see other people’s similar situations as lucky and encourage them to believe they can in fact ‘have it all’.
But alas, our stellar advice often doesn’t work so hot when given to ourselves.
I am trying really hard to realize that I don’t need to have all of the answers RIGHT NOW. Nor will making one decision or choice over another eradicate any future possibilities or dreams I see for myself.
Mapping out one’s life actually drains a lot of the fun and excitement out of it.
I mean, not knowing what the future holds is part of the fun…right?
All I know is that I wouldn’t trade these ‘dilemmas’ for the world. In a way, I think I thrive on having more choices than I know what to do with, even if it’s just over types of cereal. It assures me that no matter which I do choose on this grocery run, there will always be a zillion more on the shelf next time.
This is actually going to be my new metaphor for life.
Luxury problem #4,736: debating between brands for twenty minutes in the cereal aisle (you know who you are).
So, I guess my point here is that in the grand scheme of things, these sort of life-direction ‘dilemmas’ we find ourselves facing are actually blessings.
Having options or the ability to make a decision or choice in this life is a true gift and for this I am entirely grateful. It’s time for me to relish in my life as it stands TODAY, at this moment and not frantically worry about tomorrow or five years from now (as my documentary film sweeps Sundance-what?).
My contemplating if I’m ready to get preggers and start a family doesn’t have to compete with the fact that at times I kind of want to pack up my belongings and travel the world as a gypsy.
Perhaps I can actually ‘have it all’.
But not as a pregnant, documentary filmmaking gypsy.
That would just be weird.
*Here’s the real kicker, I’m actually a licensed psychotherapist and successfully help others through these types of issues all the time.
Self-therapizing can only get you so far, I guess.
photo by Karin Bubas
Christina Gorman is a licensed psychotherapist and founder of The Rare Bird Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the appreciation of individuality and uniqueness within our hoodwinked culture. She is a sucker for British humour, show tunes and spends her time eating, drinking, laughing and showing off her killer itunes library. Be Rare.