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For a long time, I felt as though I was stuck in a place where I wasn't quite an adult but not a child. Usually, people get this feeling when they're in their teenage years, but mine migrated to my early 20s.
In my later teens, I was depressed, but also accomplished. I had sorted out some finances, I set goals, I was published in a poetry book, and I had graduated high school. I set out some sort of 'life plan' that was a combination of day-dream based and realistic based goals.
I had timelines for many different scenarios, hoping that being overprepared would keep me ahead of the next challenge that laid before me—adulthood. I created lists upon lists of things that needed to be completed by certain dates to make sure that all of my goals would go according to plan.
Looking back, I don't think anything could prepare me for adulthood. I think that's what adulthood is—blindly migrating through life for 10+ years before you figure something out. Who knows, it has only been a few years of blindly migrating so far, but it seems pretty accurate.
It's not as though things went terribly wrong, or even too off-track. I went to college and graduated with honors. I got a full-time job and I'm paid well. I'm happy with where I work and where I live. I love my animals and I'm happy with my family.
But still, I found myself so lost in the day-to-day menial things that I seem to have no memories of what are supposed to be the 'best years' at all. I can't remember having fun or doing anything adventurous. I don't remember being happy, sad, angry—it's all a blank slate. I had planned out things so specifically and so thoroughly that I had left out all of the 'experimental' things that could potentially throw me off track (I don't mean drugs by the way).
I forgot that sitting on the beach and watching the water was my favorite reset. I neglected to include periods of reading, the thing that has always helped me stop time and find solace in even the worst situation. I eliminated, to the best of my ability, things and scenarios that would put me in a state of jeopardy (although jeopardy happened anyway).
I was so convinced that the goal I was working towards is what I wanted I didn't look at any alternatives. It was all eyes on the prize and nothing else. It made me somewhat money hungry and a huge 'penny pincher'— things I didn't really think I would be when I grew up. I moved mindlessly through task after task without really taking into consideration the world and people around me.
I'm sure many people may be reading this and are wondering where the negative is. When I write it all out like this it seems like I did exactly what I set out to do. But still, I feel a bit empty.
But I'm starting to realize all that time I was alive, but I never truly lived. I feel like I wasted all my energy on things that, yes may have afforded me a better life, but didn't give me any experience with life either. I lost time with the people that I cared for the most. Things move far too quickly to be focused solely on the future and task achievement. You have the stop to ‘smell the flowers’ and enjoy the journeys in between the accomplishments.
I think that all the planning in the world couldn't have prepared me to accept that being negligent and erratic is good for you. But here I am, at 23, playing Pokemon Go instead of reading self-help books and playing video games instead of working out.