Growing up…on your own terms

Is This Life? Photo by Alyson Hewett
Is This Life? Photo by Alyson Hewett

I think it’s natural for when we go through life’s little and big moments we tend to seek out vehicles, such as music, that put our feelings into pure and simple words. While on the cusp of the next steps in my life and on the eve of graduation from graduate school two songs, more specifically two lines from these songs, have been hitting home pretty hard.

“It feels so scary getting old…” I mean I’m 26, by some standards that’s not old at all, but at times it does get a little scary. When I was younger, I’m talking that age you are about when you’re in 4th-6th grade and talk to your little girlfriends about what you want to name your kids, I always wanted to “grow up,” but I was never one of those little girls with images of a big white wedding, specific numbers of children, dogs, white picket fences, and a specific job. I was one of those little kids who just wanted to do something extraordinary with my life, no clue what that could even be, but putting it lightly I wanted to do something, anything kick ass. With little sleepover chatter around me I would sit and have no ideals to how I wanted my life to look like at 26, or any age for that matter. I will tell you I would have never guessed I’d be here graduating with a masters and so lucky to have never put perimeters around what my future life should look like.

But as I sit here today with what feels like I’m being surrounded by the majority of my peers getting married and having established jobs and starting families (and don’t forget the almost everyday bombarded with Facebook engagements) it can become, and I really hate using this word, “scary.” With all of these progressions of life and all this “growing up”  smacking you in the face in the physical and digital worlds it’s easy to be swept up in the hype and let “getting old” become a “scary” thing when it feels like you’re falling behind in what life should look like at a certain age.

Some people fail to recognize that what may be good for a majority at certain ages may not good for the outliers. And let me tell you, the majority of us outliers at the age of 26 are doing just fine without your engagement speculations, personal amusement of if and when we’ll plop out a kid, and the constant questioning of when and if we will ever get real jobs. Personally I could care less about the first two, but the last- that one about the job- trust me friends when I say no I will not be a full-time student the rest of my life, hence the graduation, and that fact that I’m turning into quite the job hunter. And the only thing scarier than conversing with you and waiting for you to rip off the conversation band aid and dig into the wound of one of those three topics…every…time…we…talk, is our own personal uncertainties.

Uncertainties. Those have always been challenging to me. So at this fine age of 26 I currently face many of those. But just as getting old and falling into self judgment of what life should be looking like, uncertainties shouldn’t be this “scary” thing . I may not know where I’m going, where I’ll end up, how I’ll get there, who I’ll go with, what I’ll be doing, what I’ll be seeing…I set no limits to what comes next. I guess nothing really has changed from when I was that little girl with no ideals of life I wanted to live up to. I’ve never seemed to go with the majority and don’t plan on starting. So to anyone, and I know you are out there, who may have similar feelings and in similar “life” situations…”One thing before I graduate, Never let your fear decide your fate…”

Songs that inspired this post: “Ribs” by Lorde & “Kill Your Heroes” by AWOLNATION


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