If you have reached the age of twenty, or are currently living this special year, a year in which, essentially, shit starts to hit the fan. Your high school friends randomly find success while you sit in bed amongst your depression crumbs. I was just lucky enough to have my life fall apart a week after I celebrated this special birthday. I’m trying to make it through the remaining three months of this year, maybe this will help you, maybe this will help me.
My crisis began on September 4th, 2017 as I awoke to my ex-boyfriend in bed. He was from Los Angeles, had super tan skin, and dreamy blue eyes. I remember him leaning over to kiss me, whispering happy birthday, and then getting out of bed to go brush his teeth. As he swayed over to his bathroom, the realization of turning twenty dawned on me, and I immediately began to deny all aspects of my birthday. This was not something that I felt ready for, but I had this amazing boyfriend, and really great friends...so I got up and celebrated appropriately.
Two weeks after I turned twenty and confessed to him that I was riddled with insecurities, he dumped me over the phone while I sat in my family’s backyard. I sat there for an hour and fought it, telling him that I simply disagreed, and that we were going to stay together. However, it was not until a month passed, filled with manipulation and him denying my experience with sexual assault, that I realized, hey, maybe this could be a fresh start? Maybe I could become this super independent woman who has an internship, no digestive issues, and knows exactly what she’s doing. I entered the month of November ready to take on whatever got in my way.
Well November did not make the cut. Neither did December, or January, or any of the following months leading up to now. I floated through the year battling my way through family struggles, mental illness, and financial issues
SO WHAT TO DO?!
Routine has always been something that I treasure deep within my heart. I’m a true virgo to the core, and as much as I deny it, I get off on the idea of everything being in order. When I ended my relationship, I felt as though everything was completely out of my hands. Whatever I was expecting to happen, was not happening the way I had planned it in my mind. This lack of control resulted in a spike of anxiety, where I would literally be looking over my shoulder everywhere I went. I did not feel safe, I wanted to drop out, and there was nothing I did that satisfied my hunger for solidity.
The person I knew myself to be had completely left. I did not know what I was passionate about anymore, the detailed plans I had for the year had fallen through, and I felt isolated. Isolation is a key ingredient in having an existential crisis. A lot of time was spent in my room, on my computer, watching videos of shiba inus. Currently, I’m subscribed to four channels in which viewers are presented with montages of shibas running around completely free from the weight of societal pressure.
I would go on runs and get home and sit in the shower, letting the ice water fall onto my back. Journaling was a thing, too, I wrote every day for two months, and each entry was about how I was nothing and that I felt nothing. I turned to art, as well, something that once gave me solace. Even though I was creating pounds and pounds of art, I hated all of it, it was all uninspired gibberish. I felt myself competing with someone, something, that simply did not exist. This competition I had created in my mind drove me to impulsive decisions and forced me into a corner that I still remain in today. This competition, I’ve realized, is a direct result of the society that young people are growing up in. Everything has a due date, everyone has a small amount of time to accomplish something that their ancestors took centuries to reach.
Do this today, finish this by then, accomplish everything that you’ve been wanting to by the time you are twenty-five. But at the same time, stay on social media, see others reaching the finish line before you’ve even gotten a chance to fucking show up on the field. Interact with your friends, maintain relationships, call your mom, go to class, and write that paper about that thing that in reality, has no effect on anyone anywhere! It’s exhausting, and I know you are tired too. Everyone is running out of energy during a time in their life where having motivation and ambition should come naturally. So if you are twenty, or about to turn twenty…...
Remember who you were when you were ten. A decade has passed, you’ve had time to recklessly experience life, and now you are being told that ten-year-old you is just a distant memory of a person. However, that person is still somewhere. You have to experience life, while knowing that people are going to try and filter you in order to determine whether or not you have what it takes to blend into the background. But goddammit, do not blend.
Do not form a life plan that allows you to feel comfortable. For your own sake, and for everyone elses, be uncomfortable. So uncomfortable, that what results from it will leave a positive impact on the people who interact with you on a daily basis.
Ten-year-old you did not know the difference between being uncomfortable or not. They simply got up in the morning, put on their K-Swiss’, or whatever, and headed into school to learn about long division. The simplicity of those times, allowed for the purity of imagination to blossom. That same pureness, and that same willingness to just live, is the only thing that can relieve you of that existential crisis.
So while this year may seem as though it’s a permanent addition to who you are as a person, it is important to remember that although you’ve experienced hardship, or a complete revamping of who you believe yourself to be, this year is about a choice. That choice being, whether or not to stay hopeful and ambitious for what is to come, or to fall into the depths of adulthood, struggling to fit a societal mold. It’s not always clear how exactly to make the right choice, but within the following years I’m sure we’ll figure out how.
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