I’ve only spent 2 years in the real world so far. By real world, I refer to the world that is outside legally being bound to a high school classroom from 9 until 3:30 every weekday. In these last 2 years, I’ve learned more about myself, about life, and about the world than I ever had in the first 18 years of my existence. The experiences that I’ve encountered have made me who I am, and play a role in the person I’m continuously becoming. They are responsible for the lessons I have learned, the mistakes I have made, and also for the opportunities that I’ve been given along the way. The pressure to be constantly creating the perfect foundation that is going to lead us to our oh so seemingly perfect future feels as if there is almost an “everything must go” liquidation sale to leaving teenage years behind. The pressure to accomplish all the things you said you would have done by the time you were in your twenties. I considered this more when I was younger and imagining what my life would be like down the road. I think its safe to say that the idea of knowing what you want to do in life and having everything figured out by now is far from true.
As a young girl, I hated the taste of coffee. I watched my parents sipping cup after cup every early morning, but every time I tried it, I hated its flavor. I thought to myself that I would never like coffee, no matter how many times I tried it. Naturally, as I got older, my tastes changed. Not only do I now long for coffee every morning, I also work in a place where I’m surrounded by it all day long. I remember the first time I tasted whisky. Of course I was well under age, and oh how badly it burned my throat going down. My initial reaction was that I would never ever drink when I got older because of how much I hated the taste. The same way my reaction to coffee changed, so did my taste for the whiskey I swore I would never be fond of.
As a little girl I was so concerned that I was going to be the only person who didn’t like coffee when I was older, which not only is it a silly thing to worry about, but it also changed over time. If only I could tell 8 year old me that “It doesn’t matter, why is that even something you are fretting over?!! Good news, everything worked out just fine!” And if right now there are things I’m wishing I could tell my younger self … then what would 30 year old me be telling present me not to worry about now? That I’ll find the job I want? To stop worrying over the timing of things? How many things am I over thinking that will mean nothing down the road when everything plays out the way its supposed to…
Life is unexpected, and continues to change every moment. Sometimes suddenly, sometimes without us even noticing. I’ve only recently learned to appreciate what is presently in front of me. Maybe that comes with age, maybe that comes with time, but regardless, it certainly is freeing. It’s easy to get caught up in future of what is to come, and what we think is going to be better ahead. Building the foundation of a perfect life, whatever that may look like to each of us is important, but not at the cost of our current happiness. Even if life may look boring, it doesn’t mean we aren’t truly living, and to quote a dear friend, “That doesn’t mean we can’t sprinkle some salt or squeeze some sriracha sauce over the dish that is our everyday patterns.” One-step and one day at a time, and all that matters now is what is happening in the present. You can’t change tomorrow, and you certainly can’t change yesterday. All you can do is exactly what you want in this very moment.