I transitioned into my 20’s, as I’m sure most people did. I had a beer in one hand and my closest friends surrounding me as I rambled on about the amazing decade I had ahead. I didn’t think twice as I planned the upcoming, pivotal moments in my life. Confident that once I brushed off the hangover the next morning, I would be a step closer to the life I had always dreamed of.
Needless to say, the hangover lasted longer then expected and was not followed by a call from my future husband or employer. In fact, my life was the same – if not worse.
I spent days convincing myself that things would change, despite having no desire to make that happen. My motivation was short lived and I resumed living the life I always had, as a lost and confused teenager. I went to the same bar on the weekends and complained I wasn’t meeting anyone new. I ran home after class to get in a pre dinner nap and complained I didn’t have the proper college experience. I crammed homework into spare moments and often turned down new possibilities to dedicate my day to a Breaking Bad marathon.
I convinced myself I was still experiencing societies proclaimed, best years of my life.
Here I am – aged twenty-three. My life has made minor steps forward. I have a job I took out of desperation, a condo with a shoebox of bills and countless maybe I’ll laugh about it later, stories.
The twenties force you to step back and evaluate where you are in comparison to where you want to be. I was never able to do this as I was never able to set goals. My mind was constantly changing meaning ideas were disposable and the most insignificant decisions proved challenging. This held me back from finding my can’t eat, can’t sleep, passion.
My childhood defined perfection. It was the white picket fence storyline. An upper middle class family living in the suburbs. I have the ideal family, holding much resemblance to one of a 90’s sitcom. They’re supportive and encouraging of every decision I make. I have life long friends who know me better then I know myself. They’ve picked me up from my lowest, stood by me through the hardest and dusted off my mistakes with a nonchalant shrug.
High school proved challenging as it turned me into an angry, self-conscious teen. It took my ability to be myself, as I desperately wanted to fit in. I was never happy, or unhappy. I was simply coexisting with minds like mine. I lost who I was. I lost the joy of running to my mom’s car after the final bell. I lost the fun in playing tag and the people I played it with. I lost the innocence of sober movie nights and most importantly, the ability to stand my own.
I soon found myself immersed in the world that is college. I resorted to an easy program, as I had no idea what I wanted to do. I stayed in a dorm and embarked on the pizza for breakfast, drugs are a religion, I did what last night, journey.
Graduation was a bittersweet dread. A black cloak hung on my body while a man I’d never met congratulated me and a woman with a chalkboard voice wished me all the best in the future. No one spoke about the hard times ahead. No one told me the all nighters don’t stop when the ten page essays do. No one told me I’d crave the school hallway, the sense of routine, the day old poutine gravy. No one told me I’m excused because they don’t expect me to know this yet. No one told me I’m going to search for acknowledgment. Someone to pat me on the back and say good job. Someone to return an assignment, my mistakes etched with red pen. Instead, they told me good luck.