My whole life has been a series of accomplishments. Up until now.
Let me explain my grief today.
You don’t realize it at first thought; when you’re a little kid something different happens every year. With every birthday you have learned something extraordinarily new. You learn to cry when you want to be held. You learn to walk. You learn to write your name. You learn how to ride a bike. You learn how to drive a car. You learn how to calculate quantum field energies to stabilize anti-matter.
Every year, you’re learning so much that impacts your life.
But you’re also working towards a goal every year through your twenties.
You learn to write your name and use the big boy potty so you can go to pre-school. There you learn what you need to know to enter elementary school. Each year you learn new information, get tested on it, and are hopefully passed to the next grade. You take classes in high school that will prepare you for college. You take college course that will prepare you for the career you’ve chosen. And finally, you work hard to graduate with the degree and get a good job.
During that time you also hit 10 years old; double digits! Then you become an official teenager. You learn how to drive and possibly get your first job. At 18 you get to buy stuff off of late night TV infomercials, and if you want to destroy your financial future you get a credit card you swear you will never use unless it’s an emergency. Then, you hit the big one (for some people) – 21. You get to go to the local bar and pretend you’ve never snuck in there before. For people like me, 25 is the next milestone. You’ve probably stopped growing and are now just aging, but hey car insurance is a little cheaper.
And some people get lucky after college. They find a nice girl, ask her to marry, have children, and then get to experience all the childhood goals once more, but from an onlookers point of view.
Other people get lucky in different ways: some people just keep moving up in their company. Some people head off to chase their dreams, one after another. And still others are blessed with being content where they are.
But that is not me. None of it.
My milestones disappeared after 21. I don’t drink, so even hitting that milestone wasn’t a momentous occasion for me. At different points I got new jobs and made new acquaintances but none of it was going anywhere. My whole life was about moving from one thing to the next, year after year, but suddenly I was doing the same thing year after year. I’m not married, I’m not moving up in my company, my dreams are too expensive and I’m too afraid to follow them anyway, and I am certainly not content.
My mind wants to blame it on everyone else; on the way the system is set up; on the social construct of settling down; on the proliferation of the idea that eventually we will all settle where we belong and that is where we’ll spend the rest of our lives.
And I’m sure everyone else is a part of the problem. But I’m also quite certain that I am, more often than not, my own problem.
I’m out of milestones.
P.S. – don’t feel too bad for me. I have a great family. Some people don’t even have that.