The Path of Great Resistance

They say there’s a quarter-life crisis that happens around that 25-year marker. Panic ensues. Life choices seem terrible. Regret is a tidal wave that crashes into you and over you and everyone is telling you just to breathe….but if I breathe then I will drown.

No one gets it. No one, it seems. But they do. I think almost everyone has been in that place at one time or another. Hell, I think some people build the foundation of their house on that unstable ground, and no wonder they don’t recognize what you’re going through. It’s all they’ve ever known.

Some people go their entire lives like this. They do, don’t they? That’s the biggest fear. That once you’re here, you’ll never get out. You’re stuck. Floundering and Uncertainty have you now.

It happens in a blink, it seems. One day something happens to you, smacks you in the face like a slap, and that sting just seems to resonate for weeks. Suddenly, it’s there all the time. This tingling, painful numbness that lasts the day. It gets tucked in with you at night, and when you open your eyes, it’s there, sitting on your chest and daring you to remove it. But how?

Coffee? Lots and lots of coffee? I thought that maybe, my most favorite of friends would jolt my heart with caffeinated joy and snap me out of this funk. Instead, it just leaves me jittery and shaky and people are starting to wonder if the Molly-drug correlation is more than just a coincidence.

I keep reading quotes that kick me in the pants, but the idea that’s had the greatest hold over me as of late is that there is no set path in which we have to do things. At first I didn’t even entertain the thought, taking it on as some over-hyped You Can Do Anything! speech that we pitch to five-year-olds who want to grow up to become the next Michael Jordan when they’re genetics will land them at five-foot-six and their athleticism won’t surpass the brutality of all that is Dodge Ball. Yeahhh, you can totally do anythingggg.

But, really, I guess, I still believe you can. It’s hard, though. It’s harder than we ever teach children to expect, and that’s a lot of why so many people never achieve their everything. It’s because we teach the idea, but not the work ethic. What’s more, we don’t hold onto the enthusiasm. A lot of our failures are, yes, due to our own laziness, but…it’s more than that.

Do you know how many people have rolled their eyes at me when I tell them I will become a successful novelist? So many people think that dreams are just that:  dreams. Fantasies. Par with meeting Oprah or being on Conan or finding the Dodo bird (because they’re all equally fantastical). There’s no support. No encouragement. And if you didn’t go to college right out of High School then you’ve missed your chance.

That seems insane. The entire system seems insane. I applaud those who do go to school right after graduation, don’t get me wrong. I enthusiastically congratulate those who actually finish and go on to become successful in what they went to school for. That is something to be celebrated, really, but how many people actually, at the baby age of eighteen, know for sure what they want to be for the rest of their life? And yet, if you don’t, you’ve missed your chance.

That’s how it feels. It’s wrong, but that’s how it feels because that’s what we teach. That’s what I was taught. If you don’t go to school now then you will never go.

Here’s to all of you who defied the stigma. I love you for that. I love you for waiting. I love you for not wanting to graduate with $60k in debt at twenty-two years old with a degree in General Education. I love you for actually caring about school and giving your all because it means that much more to you now than it ever would have before.

A friend of mine just recently posted their education progress. At first I experienced this pang of envy because I won’t be able to start until next fall, but then I realized how absolutely awesome it was. This person is in the place I hope to be in just a few years, and that’s admirable. It deserves some serious respect. From one parent to another:  Bravo.

There is no set path. There is no order. There isn’t some list of chores you have to complete in a specific order or you won’t get the prize at the end. There is no Prize. Life is the prize. It’s difficult and taxing and IMPOSSIBLE at times, but it’s also this totally amazing experience of joys and losses and friendships and lessons and things that we can’t regret, no matter how terrible they seem, because they are a part of us, and without all of that, we wouldn’t be who we are today. You wouldn’t be you. I wouldn’t be me. And that just sounds so lonely.

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6 thoughts on “The Path of Great Resistance

  1. I’m 38 years old and I am still facing the fact that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Sometimes I feel like, if I had gone to college and followed “the rules” and went on “the right path” maybe I would have some idea what I want to be. Or at the very least know how to figure it out. At what age do people have a mid-life crisis because I think that I might be heading to that place.
    I love that you are so bold and you push yourself. I know you can do this, because I do believe in you. Not to be Michael Jordan, but to be a writer. That’s the greatest thing about being young, meaning when you’re a kid, you really do have the chance to “be anything” to “try anything”. That’s how you learn what makes your heart race and you head hurt from knowing that this is what you are going to do with your life.
    I applaud you Molly!

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    • You and I will just have to keep getting coffee and venting for hours on end lol. Four hours??? I couldn’t believe how fast the time passed. It didn’t seem fair. Time should stop to allow us to catch up and plan and figure it all out. We’ve got this, Kim. We are going to look back and laugh. 🙂

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  2. There are some people that know early on what career they want in life, others go to college and change major 3 times before figuring it out, and then there is me who figured it out at 30 years old. Who would have thought that giving birth to my son would have showed me what my career should be. Who says you have to go to school right at 18? I agree with you, why get in debt for a generic degree. If you have people that roll their eyes at your dream then maybe don’t say anything to them about it. Steve Harvey has an excellent book out about success and people. He mentioned on his show if you have “haters” move on and don’t speak to them about what you have going on, instead surround yourself with people that will listen and support you (like me!). Right now you have the best job in the world. It might not feel that was but I’m sure one day you will look back on it and see it is true. If you are going to school in the Fall I applaud you and am very exciting! So that means I should get a text message from you, so we can get together and catch up on each other’s lives ;). Look at me I didn’t go to school until a little over two years ago, I LOVE IT!!! I can tell you if I would have tried it 10 years earlier I would have failed, it was not time because I was still raising my three minions; two down and one to go lol. We all know even though a child turns 18 they still need guidance and support but it is different. One other thing I have learned in life is there are many lessons. Failures are lessons (i.e. my first marriage lol) and sometimes they are the best thing to ever happen to a person because if they hadn’t failed they would not have been able to go on to do something even better. As a mom there are times we can see what talents our children have and what career path they should go down. My oldest started hating grooming and in all honesty it was just because money was tight and what she was going through in her life. I told her I thought she should still go to school doing something with animals. She tried to tell me I was wrong…..OK…so I shut up and just let her go through her funk. Guess who is looking into school? And looking into grooming or vet tech? I don’t push my views, I just let life help her figure it out and then I got the “mom you were right”. Dreams, bucket lists, or fantasies are so important in life because they can help us get motivated with life. One of my fantasies in life was to meet Maya Angelou and well that will never happen but at least she leaves behind her work. I want to meet Oprah too. I would love to be able to sit down and talk to Tyler Perry one day, his plays and movies have laughed me out of many problems. One thing I learned when I first started going to school was that having an action plan for any goals is key because when you write down you goals, dreams, etc, and what steps need to be taken for these things to happen; it makes it easier and it can help motivate a person. If you need someone to vent to, bounce ideas off of, or just a friend you have my number Mrs. Dimples 🙂 xoxoxo

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    • Thank you!! You are so right—having the right people around you is what it’s all about. Thank you so much for your support! It’s refreshing to have people who believe in each other. That’s the way it should be—a networking of people holding each other up!

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  3. It’s because we teach the idea, but not the work ethic. What’s more, we don’t hold onto the enthusiasm.

    That rang so, so true to me.

    There is no right order to do things. The end result matters a little, but so does the getting there. And if you wind up where you want to be, then it’s a success. If not, it’s an opportunity to keep digging. Sometimes just figuring out where you want to be IS the success, and sometimes to do that you actually have to slow down. Counter to what people seem to tell us, but it’s true. Not every path has to be linear!

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    • Yes! That’s the beauty, though, finding your path and being able to stand up at the end and say (in the words of good ol’ Sinatra himself), “I did it my way.” I’m still getting there, but the fact that I finally get “it” and know what I want has me itching to be on my way. Thanks for reading!

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