If you told me five years ago (for the record we’re talking late summer 2008 for those of you who can’t do simple math) what my life would look like now I’m pretty sure I would have to punch you in the face. If you sat me; 17 year old, fresh out of high school, Arizona State bound self down and told me that in five years I would go from a type-A , plan-A person into a 22 year old walking disaster with a vague idea as to the direction of my life I would probably just stare at you blankly and ask if I had started doing drugs. I’m not, of course, doing drugs but I would naturally assume that because why else would I not be in Grad school at 22 ?! I was that person, consistently achieving more and more (I was a Hill intern in Washington DC by 19, a white house intern by 20 ; one of the youngest who was accepted in Spring 2011) always questioning my friends as to what their plan was for life and why they weren’t reaching their full potential as they rolled their eyes at me. I had a linear plan that had me finishing undergrad with a degree in Poly Sci by twenty-one, going to Grad school to get my master in public relations by twenty-five, and then settling down with a guy that I would live with for two years before being engaged for another year and then waiting six months to a year and popping out 3 kids in the span of 8 years all the while wearing high heels and power suits and dominating the DC political world. It was an ambitious plan but I
was am an ambitious girl. So how does a girl with a plan as solid as that end up working as a front desk receptionist in a massage studio and living with her boyfriend at his parents house? Good question… Life. Life happens and linear plans turn into spontaneous curve balls and real life bills and bullshit converge making it hard pressed to get ahead. I’m not condoning my behavior, having a game plan for life is important even essential, but what i didn’t know five years ago that I know now is that plans change.
I recently had a friend call me out the way I use to call other people out when their lives were seemingly a mess. He told me that he doesn’t “like to see people I know just fucking around, not doing better like they should be.” At the time I was sitting in my other friends living room getting visible more upset by the moment. The friend I was sitting next to asked what was wrong and I told him the entire situation. He said ” Your life is only a mess if you don’t feel happy. Who cares how anyone else views you, you’re the only one living life in your shoes. Who cares if you haven’t done life in the X,Y, and Z order, as long as your doing what you need to do and your consistently growing as a person you’re doing alright.” Our generation is the first to face this problem of going out of order. People aren’t going straight to Grad school (mostly because the sticker shock of an additional 60K in debt after the initial 100k or so in undergrad feels like a trap), more and more couples are living together and skipping the ceremony, society be damned and lets not even talk about the declining birth rate in this country. The idea of linear success the way our parents and grandparents had it is a way of the past so the question becomes, how do we measure success and what determines if a person is failing at life. The phrase “hot mess” which started to dominate pop culture in the past few years (I’m looking at you Amanda Bynes) is defined by Urban Dictionary as the following:
When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.
While I would like to think of my current situation as a standard detour I will readily admit to you faceless blog readers that the truth is, I’m a little lost. More than I feel that my life is in a “state of disarray” I feel a never ending anxiety that I’m somehow not doing what I’m suppose to be doing at my age and I don’t feel alone. Even twenty-somethings with life fully grabbed by the horns have the fleeting thought they they should “Get their life together” in some aspect. The answer is, of course, that short of fifty no one expects you to have everything in your life together all at once. It comes in stages. Maybe you have the career you want but your love life is shit, or you have the best girlfriend in the world but youre seriously lacking on the meaningful friendships aspect. There are all these false expectations that at some point in your twenties it all just clicks and your life is just, together when in reality I think its far from that. All I can say is today was a wake up call that there are some serious things in my life that I need to get together, but then again I think everyone could.