Do you remember when you were little how people would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? I always felt as though everybody else had an answer, and I never did. I came up with some filler answers as I got older, but they were always fleeting ideas. The only thing I’d ever truly been passionate about and certain of was the desire to be a wife and a mother; I’ve said that before, and most readers of my blog know that by now. The only other thing was my desire to move to New York, and I feel fortunate to have succeeded in that. You all know that I feel as though that was my greatest accomplishment.
If you would have told me that at 24 this would be my life, I would have been in total shock and despair. How could I have gone from feeling so successful and on top of the world, to living in my childhood bedroom? Life took such a steep fall, and it can often get really depressing. Someone told me that there is a concept called the, “Hero to zero complex”– it’s exactly like it sounds. You go from that “on top of the world” place, to feeling a lot like I do.
For the sake of transparency…
There are more days than not that I feel as though I’ve failed in life. Nothing has turned out the way I thought it would, nor is it what I expected it to be. It’s a sorry truth, but it’s not something uncommon either. I’m sure I’m not the first 20 something year old to deal with these feelings, or even the first person of any age to have these feelings occur. This thought process isn’t the kindest one to deal with and it comes with some very complex and not so healthy feelings, ones I don’t often talk about; but someone has to open the dialogue, so why not me?
Feeling like you’ve failed is like a repeated kick in the stomach. Watching other people your age or younger be where you want to be is a constant reminder of that failure, even if you’re happy for their accomplishments. Scrolling social media and clicking ‘like’ on the baby photos,wedding photos, engagement photos, graduation photos; it’s a genuine bit of happiness, but an even bigger reminder of what you didn’t do/haven’t done or don’t have. It’s also a hyper sensitive place to be. The smallest things said, with no bad intentions, can send you into a place of sobbing and heartache. There’s a constant feeling of there being this knot in your stomach, and even when things improve, you wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.
We can sit and put our lives into categories; achievements vs. short comings. You can stack them against each other, look at it, and beat yourself up for everything that’s in the “short comings” column, or you can do something about it. You hear it all the time on social media, by inspirational people– “Just keep to the grind” “Working hard pays off” “Work hard, see your rewards” etc. They’re things I’ve read and that people have said; believe me when I say, I fully agree with them. Nothing just falls into your lap. If you want to improve your life, or make something happen, you have to be the one to do that. Sometimes, however, G-d and life have other plans in store.
Circumstance. Opportunity. Those two words, while fairly synonymous, actually account for so much of people’s success, whether they realize it or not. The playing field is not leveled, and there are those who start at the bottom and make it to the top, and there are those who have it all laid out for them, and they throw it away. Then, you have the people who have been handed a tough set of circumstances that prevent them from being able to reach their fullest potential. No matter how hard they try to climb that ladder of life and success it’s as though for every step up, there’s two steps slipped down. It’s a feeling of drowning, and like you can’t fight your way up. It’s soul crushing, and something that ends up dimming your creativity and light. How can you continue forward when the circumstances of life are what’s preventing you from living?
Okay G-d, but why?
Life may not be fair, but at the very least it could feel as though I had a fighting chance, at the very least I could have been given the ability to sink or swim by myself. But, Hashem, you know better than I do. You put me here for whatever reason, and it’s my job to make the best of this situation.
Do I like it? No way.
Would I change it in a heartbeat? You betcha’.
We don’t get to pick and choose the things that happen in our lives. It’s not a la cart, even though it would be great if it was. So, we take what we’re handed. Sometimes with more gratitude than others.
In life, we all get handed our lot. For myself, the lot I received handed me a very heavy load. It has made it hard to keep my head above water, let alone swim, let alone win a race. I’m sorry about the million different analogies, but they’re the best expression of how I feel. — So, if I can’t swim, how am I expected to succeed and win in this race of life? That’s the million dollar question that keeps me up at night.
Will I ever get an answer to this? Will I always stare in the mirror and feel as though I see a failure staring back at me? Will I get to a point of embracing what I have achieved and seeing that I’m doing the best I can with what I have? Who knows.
That’s it. Those are the thoughts rolling through my mind, placed out on my blog for the world to see. Vulnerability on display with the hopes that maybe there’s someone out there that needed to hear this. Who are we kidding, everyone needs to hear this.
We’re are doing pretty okay. We’re all making it. We’re all alright.
… I think.