Slow it down…

“Slow it down, Angie come back to bed.
Rest your arms and rest your legs” 

I’ve always felt that life is going by too fast. Ok, maybe not always. There are too many decisions to be made right now, too many things that we are all “supposed” to have figured out by now. I won’t be the first or the last to confess that I have almost nothing figured out.

[Although I’m talking about a pretty serious topic today, know that my mindset right now is more humorous. I wouldn’t be who I am without having been through those experiences. I wouldn’t be who I am without being able to look retrospectively at these hard times with humor.]

There was a time that I was that person with the 5- or even 10-year plan for my life. Freshman year of college, I knew every class I was going to take and which semesters I would take them. And just in case I was straying, I remade these obsessively every. semester. Before registration. I was going to graduate within 3 years and segue right into pharmacy school. I raced towards the end point at breakneck speed, motivated by the fat paycheck that I could see just past the end of the tunnel, never even bothering to pause and reevaluate my values until it was too late.

Second semester freshman year, I was still determined not to stray from my schedule at all. But something was wrong. I hit a wall called depression and could barely make myself do anything but watch Doctor Who in bed 14 hours a day. Yup, even in depression, I was a huge nerd.

Sophomore year was a stream of delusions that I was better. I went to therapy. I took meds. I thought I was ready to tackle my plan again.

But I wasn’t. It took until the end of second semester sophomore year to pull my head out of the clouds and take a real look at my life.

I wasn’t happy in my path. My values were no longer the same and what I was doing was no longer worth the unhappiness it was causing me. That fat paycheck that motivated me before now didn’t seem to have any meaning for me.

As a person who learns hard and learns quickly in life, the way I was tackling life suddenly took a turn. Instead of racing towards the end, I became determined to milk (does this word sound disturbing to anyone else?) every second of it.

So, right now, I’m nearing graduation without any more than a year’s worth planned out. But you know what? I take comfort in the unknown; it’s where I live. So far, I feel like I haven’t had time to explore the things I really want to explore because of these obligations that I’ve put up for my whole life. I haven’t been able to explore how to code, program, or how I would be as a writer because my time has always been delegated towards completing something else. I’m not asking for more time so that I can dick around. I’m asking for more time so that I can gain some skills that I’m interested in.

Maybe it’s not that I fear that life is passing me by too quickly, but that society is trying to make me believe it’s normal to… dive right into the workforce, to know what I want by 22—which is ridiculous, by the way—to not take time to experience everything that life has to offer.

What if I don’t want to be a paper pusher? What if I start the climb up one particular career ladder and realize that I wanted another this whole time? Should I instead spread myself over many interests and then narrow down which ladders to climb later on?

I once had a 2-hour conversation with one of my favorite professors about this topic. And he told me that he believed we should make career choices as conscious adults. Anything before that was not a choice (unless you’re one of those people who are born crazy passionate), it was a default, whether you were influenced by your parents or peers or whatnot.

Of course, I’m not knocking those that did choose to dive right into the workforce or whatever it is that people do with their lives. I’m just choosing to MAKE time for myself and ultimately what it is I want to invest my time in. 

I know fully that in the meantime, it may make for odd jobs here and there to support myself. But as long as I’m striving towards a future in which I have a clearer picture of who I am and what lifestyle fits my ideology, I will be making progress.

The toughest part is probably going against the grain with what we’ve been told over and over again since elementary school. It’s the form of peer pressure that no one talks about and actually advocates.

Not to mention the fine line between taking time to discover what you really want and making this liminal space a permanent home.

Pft, whatever. Can we go back to talking about silly things? I like it over there a little more than where I am right now.

Told you I’d be feeling seriously nostalgic. Take me back right now.

hoMe

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  • http://www.thebigmansworld.com Arman @ thebigmansworld

    Great post, Mish. It takes a really strong individual to find comfort in the unknown- it could be safe to assume the majority of people seek routine and plans to feel comfortable. Thanks for opening up about your depression too- often many bloggers portray such a happy go lucky rainbows and butterflies blog 24/7, its refreshing to know that many are also human too.

    ps I tagged you in the sunshine award today ;) Its like winning an oscar award, only better.

    • Michelle

      Aw, thanks Arman! You’re the sweetest :)