Have you ever cracked open an old journal and read your own words? Have you looked back at pictures of you and an ex, or you and an old friend? Maybe you found a concert ticket of a band you used to spend hours listening to or a jersey from a team you used to play on. Then out of nowhere, your memory is triggered and images and voices flood back to you like it was all just yesterday.
Recently I’ve been having that feeling a lot. Maybe it’s because I’ve been trying to pack away or throw out old things from my parent’s house, I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that it’s weird when life seems to come to a stop while the memories whirl around you like a tornado. Sometimes it even feels like I’m looking in on someone else’s life, someone who liked the music I no longer do or talks to people I haven’t even thought of in years.
We spend so much time as kids and teenagers consumed by the world that lies immediately around us, we never see the change coming. In fact, I’m not sure I even noticed some of the change happening even after it was over. It just felt like another day. Yet, here I am suddenly shocked by just how different my life has turned out to be compared to how I once imagined.
I’m entering a program in school I never thought possible, living in a city I never gave two thoughts about, surrounded by people who many of which I never even knew until recently. I love where I am, I just simply never thought I would be here. Somehow, after all this shock I am still trying to plan for a future that probably won’t turn out like I’m imagining.
It’s not that I’m unhappy per say because I’m really not. I’m just at the age and stage of my life where I’m honestly and genuinely confused with pretty much everything. People are constantly asking me questions that I don’t know the answers to, and even if I do know the answer it’ll probably change every month anyway. Life is a layer of expectations and obligations that either eat you alive or simply gets repressed.
All I know is, I’m going to keep pushing through this mess and confusion until I find my way. It doesn’t bother me that right now I have bigger wings than roots. In fact, it invigorates me. I am 21 years old, if I can’t embrace the confusion now, how will I possibly survive the next 40 years?
See, I think it took allowing the confusion to weigh me down until I felt as though I might break in order for me to realize that I really wasn’t going to break. I had to let the chaos shake me until I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, in order to figure out that the chaos was only hurting me because I was afraid of it. Not knowing is different from not understanding. I don’t know what life will bring, but I understand that what it does bring I will embrace and continue to roll with, no matter what.
Being confused is not a bad thing, it’s how we learn. It’s the confusion that teaches us who we can hold onto when things get rough and where we can turn when it becomes too much. It’s the confusion that teaches us how to accept what life throws at us, and to sometimes realize that the unplanned is even better than the planned. It’s all about perspective, and I think I’ve finally realized that mine has changed and with that, I have changed.
Sometimes I look at that little girl in the picture, or within my memory and she feels so distant it scares me. Then I remember that that little girl spent hours dreaming up the woman that I am today. Maybe she made a few mistakes and didn’t get the image quite right, but she was dreaming nonetheless. She was just as confused as I am, but she never let it get to her. She just continued to grow, adapt and to learn. If 7 year old me can do it, so can I. After all, no matter how distant she feels we have one utterly important thing in common, neither of us ever quit dreaming.
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