Oh no, guys. Here comes another chapter in the Eli McCann Book of Learning. Learning is the worst.
One of the most difficult things I'm experiencing right now is the unsurety of where my life is supposed to go from here. Guys, I thought people were supposed to have this experience at age 18. Not 28.
Like, you turn 18. Then you get into a car and drive across the country "finding" yourself. On the way you pick up hitchhikers, run out of money, sell everything you have with you, eat, love, pray, and end up on top of a mountain with a new resolve to save the world. Then you move on and do everything you discovered that you needed to do for the rest of your life and you never feel lost again.
I think the day I was supposed to have that "finding myself" experience something really good was on TV. So I didn't go.
And I wish I had because here we are, 10 years later. I'm done with schooling. I'm a couple of years into some kind of career. I've traveled and lived all over the world and met all 7 billion people in it (besides Paul Simon--errant tear). I should know where my life is going by now, right?
Wrong. I'm more confused than a Glee writer watching Jeopardy. And I don't know why I am still so lost.
Do you ever feel like the only person in the world who doesn't know what they're doing?
Maybe everybody else got their direction as a consolation prize for completing puberty. And that's just so unfair. I can't help it that I got passed up! I'm trying to make up for lost time now but it's really hard to go through puberty when you're almost 30!
For several years now I've been in a constant state of not really having any kind of long-term stability. And now, I'm looking at the next 8 months or so that I have in Palau, and I'm trying to enjoy them as much as a can even though I can't tell whether those 8 months culminate in a cliff.
I don't know what is going to happen after Palau. I don't know whether I'll be able to find a job that I like. Or, find a job at all. I don't know whether I'll get everything I've always wanted or whether everything I've always wanted will get me. I don't even get me, sometimes. And strangers, it's kind of scary.
I tell my friends when they express the same concerns I'm expressing now that everything is going to work out for them. And I really believe it when I say it. But for some reason, right now, I'm having a hard time saying it to myself.
Fortunately I have several things that keep me grounded when I start going through these periods of unsurety. Like my great family and friends. And my comforting religious convictions. But family can't eliminate the need to make life decisions. And religion shouldn't take away questions altogether. At least, I believe that religion isn't always meant to solve problems, but to provide the proper lens for obtaining what you need from your problems so you can become something better. Not understanding this is the reason some people become embittered toward religion when tragedy occurs or prayers seem to go unanswered. But I like that lens, so I try to keep understanding it without accumulating false expectations.
And, right now, that still leaves me with the mounting pressure of figuring out what that "something better" is. And where it is. And where it isn't.
A part of me keeps screaming to Eli the Adventurer that this is another really great thing. I can go anywhere. I can start life over with new places and new friends and new experiences. Then another part of me feels so much anxiety over growing up and changing without knowing what I'm growing up and changing into. Then the last part of me wants to shut out all of the reality, curl up into a little ball, and wait for things to sort themselves out.
The thing about that last option, though, is that things don't tend to sort themselves out very often when you're curled up into a little ball.
They also don't tend to sort themselves out when you're crippled with anxiety.
I don't really have an answer today. I wish I did. I wish this was one of those posts where I tell you about the concern I've been having, make a few jokes about it, and then finish off by spouting some kind of reflective lesson I've picked up in the process.
But right now, today, I'm just a little guy lost on a really big map. And I have to keep moving. And north, south, east, and west all just look really foggy. And foggy is scary. Because you never know when a semi-truck is going to bust through the fog and run you right over.
~It Just Gets Stranger