Five years ago was actually my 20th birthday celebration. At the time, it felt like a celebration of my introduction to the end of my youth. I really thought I had learned all of the most important lessons there were to know, and I was preparing to plan my entry into the nearest nursing home because of that very serious old-age milestone I hit way out of the park. The feeling of finally making it into my twenties was simultaneously paradoxical, though, because I knew I also had more than plenty of room to grow.
This juxtaposition of my existential thoughts and my naivete was more cumbersome than I would like to admit. And I was not aware that not everyone was burdened with the same questions concerning their purpose as deeply as I was. Truth be told, I thought my way of thinking was the status quo. Therefore, “the plan” for the rest of my life… Yes really, the rest of my entire existence… That I had perfectly assembled to a T was, for all intents and purposes, going to pan out exactly as I had written it. By that, I mean everything I was working towards would come to fruition exactly as I had written it to be… Or frankly rewritten it until I allowed my perfectionism to accept the final draft of my whole life. It is making me laugh typing that out now because I really took that plan extremely seriously; I cannot underscore that enough.
I was working multiple jobs, volunteering at least fifteen-to-twenty hours a week, taking as many classes as I possibly could, and… Using that little old plan of mine to avoid the harder memories and feelings that I thought would magically disappear if my daily planner reflected my days in literally ten-minute increments.
It is very much safe to say that the whole running from my problems ordeal did not go well for me… At all.
Even though my bank account, and truthfully my life in general at that time, looked outstanding on paper, my mental and physical health took the toll for it throughout the course of the next five years. Excessive nerve damage that branched into more serious problems ultimately leading to me having no choice other than to take time off from school and work.
It crushed me halfway through the past five years when everything hit its peak. The last few things I felt I had control were slipping through my fingers… Because they were. And I was not only so angry that my perfect life plan veered so far off track from my aspirations, but I was also filled with so much shame that I did not reach the goals I had set for myself.
I mean, I am very literally still trying to figure out the instructions of my graduation date for my graduate school program. Graduation is tomorrow. That is not a joke.
However, it is now five years later, and my 25th birthday just passed last week. Thus, it is more than safe to say that the little life plan from my 20th birthday clearly did not make itself manifest… At all. It is also more than safe to say I am, yet again, so grateful it did not. Life is more than working yourself into the ground. Spending time with loved ones is the greatest gift of all. And most importantly, learning it is not only okay, but also necessary, to help others after I have taken the necessary steps to help myself has altered my perception of how I live my life completely.
So, if there is one word I have for my life right now it would be contronym. And I like it that way. I would not have guessed that at age 20-years-old. Mostly because contronym was not in my vocabulary repertoire then, yet contemporaneously because I wanted and felt that I needed others’ perceptions of me to be in my control.
It is so much better than I could have imagined to relinquish that and just be. Authenticity is the payoff, and it truly does pay more than any job or perfect plan ever could. I am looking forward to what the next five years will look like for me. And what tomorrow brings my way… No really, I found out I have total aphantasia, and that word, aphantasia, means without an imagination. So I really mean it when I say I do not know what tomorrow has in store for me. I am choosing to look at that as a gift.