Growing Pains: The Lost Years

Categories Life, Throwback Thursdays

Tonight I was sitting in a room full of adult women. When I mean adult, I do not mean people my age. I was with women ten years older than me, women in their 30s with stable careers and a kind of self-confidence one only gets with age.

I listened to them talk about the jobs they’ve had, relationships started and ended and I thought to myself, I would get there someday.

I was 23, juggling odd jobs at a fastfood, working as a social media marketing assistant, volunteering as a graphic designer while going through a mentorship program that confused me more than it helped me. I wasn’t skilled in one thing enough to know where I was supposed to go. Everyone wanted answers, wanted to know what I wanted to do, what I planned to do. But as a jack of all trades, master of none, I too was confused.

While I sat there I found myself zooming out from the scene. I saw a 30-something me in that room  telling myself to stop worrying, to stop being so anxious and insecure.

I would get there some day. I just had to go out and do whatever it took to fuel my growth. I wouldn’t be an empty vessel for long. I will eventually take shape in the form that I wanted to. Life’s experiences narrows down the options for you as you go along. You start learning what you can’t stand, what’s okay, what you want. I was just in that stage of not knowing yet. Sure, I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do but one by one I started to chuck out the things I didn’t want to do. I knew I didn’t want to be in the food and beverage industry for long, I finally realized that though visual merchandising seemed to be interesting it was an option I only considered because I thought I could only get jobs in retail. I was going through my list of crossed out options. I was going through life.

Everybody seemed to be lost in their early 20s.  Contemporaries were either going to law school or taking their masters. I didn’t have those options available to me either. I worried about those things as I opened beer can after beer can while working in a sports stadium.

And whenever I worried I told myself to visualize the  relationships i would enter, the skills i wanted to learn, the career i wanted to grow into. Now, whenever I feel so afraid about my future, I go back to this quote all the time:

“The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”
The years will add up to something. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy my growing pains.

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