There was a time when I longed to be an adult so I could go make my own money and buy the good cereal, so I could stay up past my bedtime reading the latest Harry Potter, or so I could skip church on wednesday nights. As I grew older however, things changed. Drastically, the grass is always greener type approach. As an adult now, I miss those youthful days of rent-free living, 3 square meals a day, and not a worry in the world. I actually came to realize that I grew tired of eating cereal for dinner even if it is the good cereal, I can barely stay awake past 8pm, and I like going to a community church once a week. Oh how things change!
Fundamentally, I experienced a shift in my expectations. I found out that life was not as cheeky and rosy as it once was. There a cold bitter truth out there waiting to nip at the bare noses of young adults, fresh out of childhood. you can probably still smell breast milk on the breath of many. This shift happened slowly over time so that one day, at almost 30, I looked around me, startled and out of breathe. I didnt recognize myself nor my mind. I think others noticed the shift sooner than I. My mom went into paranoid freak out mode all the time, fretting over the umbilical cord that was snapped almost 3 decades ago, hoping I wont up and run away into the abyss. My employers saw the change as well as my friends.
Ignorance was the change. I became aware of the fact that I was ignorant about so much in life. This may not seem like a big life changing ordeal but this is coming from a person who thought they had a pretty optimistic view on life as they knew it. What caused this awareness of ignorance? More knowledge. I, like many transitioning adults, realized that there was a MAJOR discrepancy between what I was taught growing up and the way things really are. Like a vast difference. The more I noticed this gaping difference, the more frustrated I became. Then that frustration turned to anger, like it usually does. Officially, I became the sterotypical “too smart for their own good” kind of young adult — you know the ones. The ones that always seem to have a chip on their shoulder, always screaming about the injustice in the world, always raging on about their innocent victim role. I became her. She was me. Pessimism was my new thing. Hating “the man” was in (as if it was ever not in style). And I was in full fashion. I signed petitions, wrote letters, and attended meetings with others who had realized the unfairness of life and their own ignorance. To be quite honest, it gave me zeal for awhile. The anger had an outlet. It also allowed the anger to grow and fester into the beast of arrogance and greater ignorance. Becoming an outright rebel without a cause, just like all the other rebels without causes, I failed to really do a detailed analysis of myself, study my situation, and plan an intelligent way to deal with my ignorance and the injustice. As we know with anger, it poisons you. And poison me it did. Anger sucked all the wind out of my sails. I became depressed and despondent. I hated every job I worked. I hated poor people. I hate depressed people. I hated the man. I hated black people. I hated the south. I hated white people. I hated myself.
At my wits end, swirling a cocktail of meds and whiskey in my hands, I knew I needed to make one last ditch effort to make things right before I ended it all. I could try to save myself. There must be something here worth saving. There must be some other point of life that I was missing. This last minute question of life saved me from taking my own. If I don’t have anything to lose, clearly I didnt as I was about to drown myself in a glass of cheap whiskey and OTC sleep meds, what could I stand to gain I reasoned? I didn’t know but I was willing to find out.
This would actually be a great place to insert [The End] and continue telling the story of how my life was instantly changed. I could tell you that I put that drink down, went home and started an amazing million dollar business and non-profit to save starving children and never looked back. But I would be lying. And I would be doing both you and I an incredible disservice.
What I can tell you is that I did put that drink down. I did alot more crying, alot more hair pulling, took a few more risks and although I am still not where I want to be, I am right where I need to be. Right at the intersection of “making progress and getting there”.
I can say that we all will have that moment, or several of them if you are like me, when we feel that an incredible disservice has been done to us. We may feel like life has not prepared us enough and that in itself feels like a cold hard slap in the face- an injustice. Some of us have chosen to blame our parents, our religion, our skin color, our environment or the cat. The list of the blamed are many, the list of the responsible are few. It’s easy to blame and hard to swallow the pill of responsibility but in order to progress, we must.
I wrote this blog post to encourage someone to not let ignorance fester in you, do not let your temporary frustration turn to anger- and even if it does, I am here to tell you that there is a way out should you decide to seek it. Life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Prizes are not awarded to those who finish the fastest but to all of those who stick with it, those who make progress, those who remain resilient in the face of uncertainty and ignorance.