Maybe that’s not true. Maybe I am ready. But it sure as hell doesn’t feel like I am.
I turned 21 less than a month ago, which means I can now officially say I’m “in my twenties”. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? I’m such an ~adult~, I have so much ~potential~. YEAH, NO.
I mean yes I do have potential, and yes I am more of an adult than an eighteen year old is, but in reality being “in my twenties” doesn’t really feel like I expected it to when I was eighteen. I thought by now, as I enter my senior year of college (holy sh*t), that I would know who I was and what I wanted to do. Boy was I wrong.
Getting closer and closer to the big, bad “real world” has just made me more and more insecure about what it is I want to do with my life.
And yeah I know, all the “real adults” out there will tell me that it’s okay that I don’t know and that I have so much time to be whatever it is I want to be; but when you’re standing at the edge of a cliff, looking over, and hoping that the parachute you put on was the right one, you don’t really feel like you have the opportunity or time to get it wrong.
That’s how life feels at the moment, like a five hundred foot cliff that I have no choice but to jump over.
This summer I’m working my first ~real job~. Sure I’ve done unpaid internships and camp counselor jobs and other temporary things, but this summer is the first time I’ve stepped into the true corporate setting (yaknow like the one where you have to wear business casual clothing everyday and aren’t allowed to check Facebook when you’re bored….exactly). So as I face this corporate, billion dollar, forty-hour-a-week life, I’m forced to look at what I’m doing and what I want to do and decide if those things match. But honestly I’m not so sure that they do.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying my internship. It’s an amazing opportunity with a great company and I’ve already learned so many valuable things, but at the same time I can’t sit here and say that this is what I want to do for the next forty years of my life. And that’s okay, I know that. I know that I don’t have to work this job forever, but in today’s world there’s this intense pressure for people my age to know how their life is going to play out and to put those plans into action by taking the exact right steps, all the while hoping you make it out safely (and with a ton of money) on the other side.
But as I’ve worked this summer, and met awesome people and learned all these new things, I think I’ve begun to realize that all this pressure I put on myself for the ~real world~ is fueled by the myth of what success actually is.
My success for the next forty years of my life shouldn’t be determined by the decision I make as a 21 year old, and I sure as hell shouldn’t be afraid that it will be. But let’s be honest, knowing this still doesn’t make it any easier to not freak out as I get closer to my cap and gown. And this feeling is only exasperated when I look around and compare myself to all the other young adults around me. Sometimes it feels like everyone else knows exactly where they’re going while I’m just wandering around the intersection trying to read the signs.
But in reality, I think I’m a lot more normal than I sometimes fool myself into believing. The future is scary for everyone, not just me, and I’ll never truly feel ready for that big jump off that cliff. So maybe it’s better to just let myself fall and see where I land. Because taking the risk of failing in order to find a career doing something I love seems a lot more appealing that being stuck doing something for the next forty years that I never wanted to do in the first place.
So no, I’m not ready for the real world, but honestly….who is.
From me for you,