Sometime in the hours between waking and dreaming, I had a moment of reflection. Time has really flown for me over the last few months and those quiet, meditative, moments right before sleep have been few and far between. By this time in August I will no longer be in my mid-twenties and will be much closer to middle age than I am to childhood. Rather than reflecting on time, relationships, or the inevitability of death, my mind wandered instead to the strange metamorphosis that young adults must endure on their journey to adulthood.
Growing up, I was always one of those kids that adults called “an old soul”. I’m sure that everyone has their own definition of what that means, but for me the term has come to mean that someone who feels deeply and who worries a bit too much. That being said, I’ve always held the belief that there is really no such thing as an “adult”. Our essence never really changes, we just learn different ways to present ourselves to the world.
This is where we return to my late night reflections. My generation is often accused of being self centered and high minded; that because we were told we were special that it’s given us a warped world view. I’d like to think instead that the problem with my generation is that we really are as gifted and as special as we were always told and, as a result, conformity is one of our greatest threats.
If I use myself as an example we would see a girl whose identity was wrapped up in her imagination and in her good grades. No matter how often her family moved, she was always able to take comfort in her ability to make good grades and advance to the head of her class. By high school, she no longer excelled in all areas and instead prided herself on her excellent English and History scores. She was then able to transfer those same skills to her college life and found the best version of herself in the halls of academia before reality wiped her slate clean.
By this December, it will have been five years since I graduated from college. I can say, without a doubt, that some of those days have been some of the very worst days of my life. I’ve since read that it is not uncommon for students to fall into a deep depression upon graduating and that some others pursue additional degrees to put off the inevitable entrance into the “real world”. Through the admittedly long years between now and then I’ve felt that strange metamorphosis that I spoke about earlier. I had to let go of the girl who made excellent test scores and put away the starry eyed student who believed that her dream job was just a few years away.
My life today is far from perfect but I have finally reached a place of peace. I’m working at a job that I actually enjoy (most days) that allows me enough time to pursue my interests and my passion. My freelance jobs are more frequent and I’m happy to say that I have more than a few repeat clients. The bookworm in my heart is now content and I look toward my dreams with wistful hope rather than obsession. I know now that my life’s journey is just beginning, even if I’ve nearly reached the middle of the road.