I am 27 years old and I fear I’ll never have it all. It kind of feels like my true potential is some big mystery that I’m still not clued in on yet, and no matter what I do, I’m doing it all wrong. As I approach 28 this summer, I can’t help but feel like my youth is fleeting, that I’m running out of time, and that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to catch up.
It's kind of funny that I feel this way, because I'm someone who tends to ignore social norms. I’m not the type of person who wants what others have just for the sake of feeling normal. In fact, I’ve always identified as sort of an outcast — a late bloomer, if you will. Maybe that’s why as I approach my late twenties I feel more alienated than ever.
Finding a good job that I love wasn’t easy, but with perseverance and a whole lot of patience, I am now just starting to feel like my writing career is going somewhere. After writing for a popular music and pop culture site for four years, I now freelance for them while I run my own music site, The Daily Listening. Despite this professional success, I can’t help but feel very unsettled about the future.
Anxiety takes hold of me when I lie in bed at night. I plan out the next day, but fear still creeps in and stifles me. If I don’t keep on top of things, I fear it could all go away in an instant — four years of all of my hard work and trying to get my voice heard down the drain. I think about all of the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish and wonder if any of those dreams are possible. Is it too late? Did I waste too much time?
When this happens, I wish I had someone to ease my anxiety, to hold my hand and tell me that everything is going to be OK. What if I never find that? Will my stomach always be tied in knots for the rest of my life? Will everything always be up in the air? Will I always feel this uneasy about everything?
The truth of the matter is, I could be the most successful person on the planet and still be lonely (is Britney Spears’s “Lucky” coming to mind?). I don’t relate to most people my age and I’m not exactly the type of girl most men want at this point in their lives. I live a rather modest, introverted life based on personal morals and my own ideals. I don’t drink or smoke and I’d rather be in my bedroom with a good album or book on a Friday night than in a noisy, packed bar. It’s hard to meet people who share my values, especially in New York City, where it often feels like everything is one giant party. I find solace in music, in lyrics that express my truths. It's only then that am I able to write from the heart and make sense of everything.
Women are now often told to chase our dreams rather than chase love, and I stand by that notion wholeheartedly. But it looks so easy for everyone else. As I watch my friends get married and start families of their own, I can’t help but wonder if I will have any of that someday. Getting married and having kids are definitely not on my agenda right now, but it would be nice to feel as if I will be worthy of those things when I am ready to start that next chapter. I wish that I didn't feel as if I'm falling behind.
So what does it truly mean to “have it all”? Right now, I imagine it means having your priorities straight, taking life one day at a time, and reminding yourself that you have everything you need within yourself to succeed. Love, though powerful and quite wonderful, is an added bonus that finds you when you’re least expecting it. I’ve chased love more times than I’d like to admit, and let me tell you: If it feels forced, it’s not real.
Having it all doesn’t mean having everything everyone else has, or what society says you should have at a certain age. It’s about living your life exactly the way you want, on your own terms. I find it silly that nobody thinks to tailor their lives to what they really want. We tend to just go with the flow and live out others' expectations without really thinking about what we truly want or how it will affect us down the line.
I just want to believe that I already have everything I need and that I didn't cause the emptiness I feel. Maybe happiness just hasn’t found me yet. Maybe I need to befriend the mystery and be OK with not knowing everything all of the time.
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