Lately (maybe the past 6ish months?) my life has felt chaotic. Unsettled. Uncertain. There was no place I could go and just feel safe and at peace. And by and large, that is still how I am feeling today.
I'm thirty-five years old. Thirty-freaking-five. I cringe and feel sick to my stomach just typing that, never mind saying it aloud. No, I don't think that's over-the-hill OLD. But I don't feel that age. I guess in my mind I am still 25, give or take.
Still allowed to make some foolish mistakes.
Still able to burn the candle at both ends without too much physical/emotional/mental toll.
Still permitted to worry only about the here and now without giving too much thought to the far off future, let alone next week or next month.
Still able to muddle through without too much worry, because there is plenty of time ahead of me.
I still feel like so many pieces are up in the air for me right now. Lately I have felt so much anguish and frustration at work. While I didn't exactly know WHAT I was going to be when I graduated (from both undergraduate AND graduate school), I could not have imagined the jobs I would eventually hold in my career path (or maybe it is more accurate to say my career stumble? Path implies there is some sort of structured or charted course.) While I know not everyone gets to feel happy or fulfilled (hell, I'd settle for just CONTENT) in their jobs, it shouldn't feel like this.
I know I am not alone in this feeling. But unlike some of my other friends....no one else is counting on my paycheck but me. Yes I feel the constraints of my financial responsibilities - paying my rent and bills on time, trying to chip away at student loans before I am a senior citizen. But there is no 30-yr mortgage to be paid or housing repairs to be done. There are no children to be fed and clothed and cared for. For so many others I know who have felt these same feeling I have about work, there is some comfort to be taken in knowing that part of your daily struggle/sacrifice/strife at work is at least not in vain because you are caring for others. Someone else is counting on you.
But it's just me.
Is there still even time to not only figure out WHAT I want to be, but to go and BECOME it? Some days I feel bold and hopeful that yes, there is time. Most days I feel discouraged (either by myself or others) that that window may have closed and I just need to make peace with it, and do the best I can with what I am doing right now. Yes, I know most days my current work is more "for now" than it is "forever." Hell, I have real inklings that I may not even have this job in 6-8 weeks, and not by my own choosing.
I wake up in the morning and some days as I finish getting ready and am heading out the door, I feel that pit in my stomach. And at the end of the day I feel like there is a small sliver of time where I am able to put it all out of my mind before thoughts of the next day creep into my head and weigh heavy on my mind.
My biggest trouble lately is dealing with so many feelings of regret. Missteps I (may) have taken in my personal and professional lives that have brought/led me to where I am now. Too often I catch myself falling into a daze, paddling down the river of "What if?"
I keep hoping for and looking for signs. That what I am feeling is normal. That what I am feeling will pass. That someday - maybe in the not-to-distant future - things will become clearer to me. That I will understand the wheres and the whats and the whys. That I will feel more hopeful and not so hopeless.
Until then, I just feel a bit like a weird, not-quite-right-yet version of myself.