Friday, June 18, 2010

24 and the world is........

a picture, for those of you who are scared off by how much text follows.
don't be scared.

dear life,

this is a letter from me to you. i recently turned 24. i don't know if i just wasn't prepared for it or what but it has taken me quite by surprise. 24 feels old. (sorry to those of you who are 24+). i have never so strongly felt that i have crossed out of a territory that i can't go back into. perhaps it's because i'm with my little sisters right now, and two of them are still living in the single-digit years. i feel the door closing to an old life, but have not yet found the window, or the secret door, or the escape hatch to get into the next one!

and another thing: i feel like i lost 22 and 23. i mean, what was i DOING those two years?! i suppose those years were so swallowed up in other things that it feels like someone just pressed a big PAUSE button on my inside-life, and now that all those outside things are done and taken care of, i'm ready to start back up, june 4th, 2008 and be 22 again, and then 23. aren't i too young to have regrets like that? aren't i too young to think i missed part of my life? maybe this is what john mayer means when he says, "might be a quarter life crisis." because let's face it, i too wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life. am i living it right?

and this whole conundrum is exacerbated by a dilemma that many of my '86 generation have recently found ourselves in: what with the economy being what it is, we haven't been able to get into the internships/jobs/colleges that two years ago would have been a cakewalk. and so we're left with all this time to wonder if what we chose to do with ourselves in college (as far as majors go) was even the right choice at all. why didn't i do medicine? or journalism? or or or? all this dillydallying while i'm applying to yet another internship/job/school is not good for my already over-analytical mind!

tonight i was reading a book called Major Decisions by Henry J. Eyring (not to be confused with Henry B.). it's about how to make the most of your college years (not such ideal timing, as far as i'm concerned, which may be feeding into my feeling of regret). one chapter was entitled "always have big career dreams." in it, Mr. Eyring makes an interesting point: he says that a good indicator of a career that would be right for you--not just right, but abundant for you--is what you think about when you don't have to think about anything. he called it shower-thinking (ie: what you think about in the shower). other than singing opera, i think about planning stuff. i make lists in my head, figure out the most efficient way to do things, plan theme-parties, etc. lately i've also taken to coming up with businesses i could start today if i wanted to. odd.

the other thing i think about is writing. until this little blog, i never really thought about it much, but now it's everywhere--i arrange and rearrange words until they sound just the way i want them to, most of which don't ever even make it out of my own head and memory onto this blog. i figure out how to put the pieces of a story together. i write poems and little melodies and i have the box of lyrics and lines scribbled on napkins and the backs of receipts to prove it.

i don't think about teaching. i don't think about the book i'm currently reading. i don't think about dead authors.

the other thing i think a lot about is my future family. especially lately about how my choices today are going to play out in their lives. that weight is getting increasingly heavy every day. the responsibility of parents astounds me.

i also think about really dramatic situations. you know, the train station scene after two lovers have been separated for years! or me telling someone off! (these ones are especially funny because i never really have anything to tell someone off about.) this is a habit that i've had to learn to curb, because i'm afraid someday some of these things will come flying out my mouth. i do think, though, that we live in a culture hungry for dramatic moments, and out-right starved for sincere ones. perhaps i will start working on creating more of those for people.

which brings me to the fifth thing i think about in my free-brain time: creating incredibly awkward moments for people. i tried to write some of the ideas i have had, but oddly enough couldn't remember any of them. they are purely an in-the-moment thing. the one recurring theme, though, is that they seem to occur in shocking abundance on blind dates.

so there you go. i suppose i should look into screenplay writing, or journalism for awkward people, or maybe i could write a self-help book about maximizing efficiency by making lists.

but that's kinda just it: i'm tired of "looking into" another something. i'm ready to be on that path--the one straight shot to "career" and "future". sometimes i think i'm destined to live this madly organic life, free-form, taking whatever shape it pleases. maybe that's the destiny of the creative thinker--not one path, but a hundred, and not satisfied until i have traveled every one of them.

i just want to know this, life: am i making the most of you? because i feel like i'm living 100 mph, but if i'm just spinning my wheels, i need to know NOW. ten years from now, when i'm 34, i refuse to feel like 24-33 eluded me. so, world, how can i be sure that i'm making the most of it?

please write back,


  1. dear c,
    one time, I was in your very room and saw a list entitled "This Day" on your whiteboard. Underneath said title were items like "Grocery Store." I wish I could remember more of that list, but that does not matter. The point is, you taught me that day about lists and the importance of a Title. I loathe "To Do" but love "This Day".

    love Love.

  2. Carolyn,

    You're just cool. That's all. You have no need to worry about anything else.

  3. You are wonderful. And I'm hardcore creepin', I realise this. I just thought you ought to know.