Middling

Glory days.

Bruce.  Adele.  Something to wax nostalgic over.  If you buy into inexpensive, shoddy, sweatshop clothing, we should all cling jealously to 21 (although I understand it’s now been re-branded as Forever XXI).  Years ago, I thought about this notion that youth = beauty (but not before adulthood, because Lolitas are creepy, I guess), and decided that if I’ll always look back on previous pictures and think about how beautiful I was, then surely I should embrace daily how beautiful I am.

Ironic, then, that the same age range to make me love myself also brings on a new wave of self-doubt.  I hear this is common from older friends.  Confusion abounds in your 20s, I’ve been told.  I’ve started on some life paths but haven’t traversed enough of them yet.  I’ve had some thrills, but haven’t peaked yet.  I’ve learned my lessons but haven’t wizened yet.

Yes, I realize that wizen is more accurately wrinkled, but I like this idea of linking age to sagacity.  Allow me my foolish wordplay.  Although, I did just look it up, and it also means, “lacking vitality,” and that idea is still tragic to me.  Perhaps I ought not trifle so carelessly with words, for they have power and will ravage me along with time.  (Would that we were all ravished, rather than ravaged.)

Now that I am firmly in my mid-20s, anchored in a fortunate childhood and ready to cast off into adulthood, I find myself middling.  Content enough, and yet yearning.  (And ugh, way to sound like an angsty teenager’s secret journal entry.)  I am dissatisfied with my approach to life and rail (but don’t kick) myself about pushing onward.  I need to work harder.  I need to think more deeply.  I need to seek new human interactions.  The problem with my funk is that I don’t know how to make myself happy right now.  Rather than anchored, my ship is mired.  I worry that I am not valued by others as I deserve to be valued and lack foresight into when that will change.  Wise DoHos tell me that the 30s are much better, which certainly brings me hope, but I suspect that I’m keeping myself from fully enjoying my 20s.

Alright, cutting the bullshit.  It’s about a boy.  It’s always about a boy.  My previous interactions with this boy left me feeling like I was used as a bookmark…and I worry that that has recommenced.  The solution seems straightforward at first–I must be less available, not just because I am pretending, but because I ought to find more valuable uses for my time and energy.  Instead of taking action, though, I’m hindering myself.  I’m not tearing myself away.  I know I’m fooling myself that it’ll get easier, and I know I need to make the decision everyday to make myself happy in other ways, spend my time cultivating myself and my community, and uh…you know…try to uncover new aspects of breast cancer, but I’m also miserable when I tamp down those emotions completely.  It’s like I ripped the bandage off over a year ago, was a festering cesspool for awhile, almost completely healed, and then the last scab was brutally scratched open again.  Whoo…dramatic much?

She who cares less, wins.  I don’t think I’m able to care less (note that this is neither implying apathy nor using that annoying, “I could care less”), but I know I should turn my care to other avenues.  To leave behind this “middling,” my objects need to merit my care.  And really, the gratification in helping others is immense.  It’s time to lose myself in the service of others, in the process losing this funk!

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