I’m kind of going through some ups and downs in my personal life right now which is partially why I haven’t been posting that much, but it’s sort of brought me to this post. I’m angry I got sick right now. Normally, I’m ok with that, and I’m happy with my life and the person I’ve become. Most of the time I am thankful for colitis. This is not one of those times. I was diagnosed with MS a few months before I turned 22. I was later diagnosed with UC when I was 25, and had all of my surgeries after I turned 26. Now I am 27 and the purpose of laying this out is not give you my life story year by year, but to show that I went from my early to late twenties while I was sick. I think that most people get this time to figure shit out. They finish college, start jobs, start their lives. They get the ability to figure out who they are and what they want out of life. That’s the really big one I’m having a really really hard time with right now. What the hell do I want out of life? I think on the outside this seems like a relatively easy question, right? If you grew up in the Midwest, like I did, chances are you want a spouse, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence.
But what if that isn’t what you want? Or what if you’re not sure if you want that? Or what if you’re like me, and you don’t want that, but you don’t know what you want in return. There are a billion studies that tell us in our twenties we start to forge our path in life. We learn to separate ourselves from our parents and create new identities. I think I’ve done that. I’d venture to say there is some kind of study out there that breaks down our twenties into a list something like this:
20-23: Learning life as an adult. Becoming self sufficient. Building individuality and character.
23-25: Starting to tackle the career world. Learning pride in providing for yourself. Beginning to plan the life you think you want.
26-28: Reevaluating the life you thought you want, and starting to take steps to achieve that life. Probably a job switch in here somewhere.
29-30: Doing what it takes to accomplish your goals. Laying down the foundation to your future because now you know what you want.
Well if you look back up there to the years of my sickness….I missed out on a lot of those self defining and planning years. So here I am…in my late twenties with no plan. I think a lot of people feel the same, but they know someday that they want a family. Or a cottage on a lake. Or to start a business. Crap, you guys, I don’t have any of that. I know that I want to stay alive. That’s my future goal. Pay my own bills, get a job and be able to keep it. Break my own record for length of time without a hospital stay and years in between MS relapses. Which to me are pretty legit goals. But when I’m busy not dying and out living my life I start to think about what I will do if I accomplish those goals. Then what am I going to do? This is where I get stuck. Not just stuck but excessively overwhelmed trying to figure out what the hell I want. I have said for years that I don’t want a family for about 10,000 reasons. I ‘ve spewed my anti-marriage propaganda about the internet for some time. I talk frequently about how I hate children. The reality is (while I do stand by MUCH of what I say)….I don’t know and I’m afraid. I feel like if I don’t know 100% that I want those things then it’s better to not do them at all. OK. That’s fine. I am cool going the anti-traditional route, but what am I going to do?
I am having a really hard time right now making life decisions and I blame it on the fact that I was deprived of that time in my twenties. While everyone else was dating and banging, I was in monogamous relationships. While everyone else was climbing their career ladders, I was losing my job. They were starting 401Ks, I was paying medical deductibles. They were day dreaming of what their future life would look like, I was hoping I had a future life.
Sometimes I really wish I was dumb. Because then I wouldn’t know any better and I would just do what I’m “supposed” to do and I would probably be really happy with it. Most people are. And frankly, even if that is where I decide that I want to go, I want to make that choice. I don’t want it to be because I have no other options. I just feel like I didn’t make those plans and create those dreams that most people my age did, and now I’m sitting here floating around with nothing to ground me. Nothing to work for. I think I will have a good job someday, but what about my personal life? Being professionally fulfilled can take you a long way, but at some point you realize you’re a person and not just a job.
There is a lot of fear surrounding my future. Fear that I’m supposed to be choosing something right now, and I’ll realize that when it’s too late. Like I’ll be 40 and go, “hey that family thing sounds awesome”, and then it won’t be possible. I feel like I’m behind and so I keep scrambling to figure things out but I’m getting no where. Sometimes I wish I would have just gotten knocked up young and married young (and probably divorced young). But at least then I’d have a path. I would know where my life stood and what I was to do with it. Sometimes I think that the choices and possibilities are too much for me to handle.