I Have Never Felt More Lost And Why That’s a Good Thing
I am 22 years old. I graduated from university in May. I was rejected by most grad programs I wanted to go to. I moved back home. With my catholic parents. As a queer woman. I am also a writer who mostly does poetry and short stories who also hasn’t written anything in months. Most of my friends don’t live anywhere near me and even if they were close, we are all living through a pandemic right now.
That leaves me pretty alone. While I’m thankful for my girlfriend and her daily facetime calls, I still feel like I’m drowning. I, like most people, had a very distinct idea of what my life would feel and look like. I was supposed to be somewhere on the east coast in a crappy apartment. I was supposed to be going to grad school and fine tuning my skills as a writer. I was supposed to be fully independent. I was supposed to feel not lost.
I know I’m not the only girl in the world whose life got derailed and now looks completely and totally different from anything they ever imagined. I’ve spent most of my time at home pretending like everything was okay, like I was okay. I put myself so deep in denial I couldn’t tell anything in my life apart. Now I am no longer in denial and feel every ounce of anxiety, fear, and disappointment that I hadn’t let myself experience.
Supposedly, I did everything right. I worked hard, went to a good college, saved up money, worked different internships and jobs, I graduated with honors and with a full blown poetry collection. Yet I still didn’t end up with the life I had planned for myself. Now I’m sitting in my old childhood bedroom wondering where I went wrong, can I truly blame everything on COVID19, and where do I go from here?
I feel lost. I don’t know how to answer any questions beyond what I should make for dinner. While many people are telling me to enjoy this moment of pause and take my time getting to know myself outside of school. And trust me, this is great advice, but that doesn’t stop the anxiety from creeping in, the fear that I’ve peaked, that everything great is already behind me. I’m also tired of having to hide those fears, to be happy and always look at the silver lining. I need space to freak out, cry, and just drink a bottle of wine without judgment.
So What Now?
That the main question I’ve been asking myself. I know I feel lost. I know that there are good parts to this and there are absolutely sad parts to it. There’s so much and I have to just sit in it, taking turns feeling all of the feelings or none at all.
What now? What now?
There’s only one thing really. I just have to feel it and actually take small steps forward. I got a job! I’m starting to write poetry and fiction again! I am in therapy! I am waking up everyday and doing what I can everyday. Small steps.
I haven’t let myself take my time with anything in a long time. So doing it now is scary, especially as I try to reconfigure what my future might look like. However, as scary as it is, and as constant as the anxiety is, it’s been also nice to wake up everyday and be able to live more slowly, to check in with myself and actually listen to what my mind and body needs.
I have never really been able to do that. This is probably the most human I’ve ever felt, granted I feel like shit most of the time, there also seems like there are lot of possibilities that I’m moving toward. Maybe I don’t have to go to grad school. I’ve been freelancing for the last few months on top of a part time job and I’ve enjoyed that. Maybe I want to wait before pursuing an MFA degree. Maybe I want to finally write that short story collection. Maybe I start a business?
Being lost just means you don’t know where to go, not that there aren’t paths to follow. While it’s an absolutely terrifying feeling, I’m trying to fully let myself feel and experience all aspects of being lost. My entire plan and world view has changed in this time and I think It’s for the best. I think the one thing I’ve realized in the last few months is that my plan was also suffocating me. It didn’t give me space to explore, enjoy, or feel.
So what now?
I get to decide stuff. Change up my plan. Feel scared. Feel happy. And just keep going. One day at a time.