Mackenzie, our 21 year old niece, is currently wading thru one of life’s existential crises. The “what do I want to do with my life” dilemma that I remember all too well. I think I might remember it so well because, for me, that feeling has never completely gone away. Mark & I so badly wish we had answers for her, or a roadmap, anything to help ease the discomfort of not knowing what to do. Though, I don’t think telling people what to do is ever really helpful. Just because a path worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. So while I’ve shied away from offering advice it’s left me wondering what I would tell my 20 year old self if 40 year old me could go back in time and have a conversation with her.
I think it might go a little something like this…
Life doesn’t get any less confusing or complicated. There is no “arriving” in life. There is no finish line or destination in which you’ve “made it”. There are successes and failures, good days and bad, periods of elation and times of devastation. Always. From now, until the day we die. You’ll want to run away from the discomfort of your incessant thoughts until you realize that there are no external solutions to internal problems. In other words, you can’t run away from you. So long as you are curious and aware and actively participating in your life you will always experience a certain amount of discontent because you’re trying. You’re searching for meaning and purpose and that takes a tremendous amount of trial and error. You’re also bound to experience joy and fulfillment because you care. You have the desire to make something with your time on this planet and so you will. But it’s like watching an oak tree grow, it’s hard to see change and growth from day to day, even year to year. But it’s happening. All that to say, you’re doing great, stop being so hard on yourself.
So, if you’re reading this Mackenzie, you’re doing great, stop being so hard on yourself.