Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Life is Apparently Half Defined

I have been hearing a lot about the book The Defining Decade. Being mostly in our mid-twenties, a handful of my friends have been reading it... and then anxiously bringing it up over dinners and  "recommending it".

Apparently we are all treating our twenties carelessly, when actually, apparently, your 20s are way more important than people tend to think of them, and also don't you listen when people optimistically try to calm you down by saying that "30 is the new 20", because peace is for turtles, and the choices you make in your 20's set up your whole life and send you down your general life-path, and if it is the wrong one you either are screwed, or at least end up paying the price by later regretting it... and then needing to fix it- if you are even lucky and brave enough to face your careless life-mistakes, you big lazy baby! Or maybe that is just what I am telling myself the book is about.

"It really made me re-examine the way I do things", friends have said with feigned optimism.

So I ask my usual question:

"Well, is the book stressful?" (I ask this a lot when people recommend anything: activities (like... maybe sky diving), movies experiences (like this, and this), TV Shows (like Breaking Bad), and now, books.

"...um... No.... um.... it's... I guess it's helpful!", they say.


I spend a lot of time stressing out about making sure I don't stress myself out. As you may guess, this is very counter-intuitive and it doesn't work. But the reason is because I spent my teens stressing about various things that I should never have stressed about. So I went into my 20's with the intention of enjoying things way more- and not letting myself worry too much or think that anything is too important. But I am not always great at it! Ok!?

Well, I am good at it sometimes. Sometimes I am super-chill. And sometimes I am the most easy-going and wise person you have ever met. But then sometimes I can't fall asleep because I am not sure what shoes I should wear the next day that will be both warm and comfortable and why did I tell the person I work for that I don't like to use calendars?

I don't think I need a book to tell me to start worrying. Or do I!?!?!?! I DON'T KNOW.

be very inspired

To be fair, I haven't read the book. But I bought the free sample on my Phone/Kindle earlier today on the Bolt Bus, and then stopped reading when it started explaining how everything I do is shaping my life to come, choice by choice. I started staring out the window at the sun in the clouds and the migrating birds and the bare trees zooming by.... Wow, I am being Zen! In the face of trying to figure out whether I should be figuring things out!... ahhhh.

I am a few days away from my 25th birthday, which I would normally tell myself is still young enough. Don't worry Caroline, you are sooo fine, you still have so much time to become a professional tree climber or a cheesemonger, and become really chill and figure out what you want and what is going on. And 25 is young, sort of, when you are not reading a book about how important your every choice is during your 20's, and then realizing that your 20's are already half gone.

If this book is right: my life is already half defined. And that would be a shame. Almost half of that half was still in college! And how was that fair!? And then how would I be half-defined? By me not having the wherewithal to buy any wearable shoes? By my irrational worries that I will never sleep enough ever again? By the time I loved that guy who was Bisexual? NO. My God no, no no no no.

And pffff, if it is true, then people definitely shouldn't have been so easy on me. They should have been saying: "Caroline don't you know that you need to make good choices in your 20's or you will end up being a Post Office Clerk with a mustache and an internet gambling problem!?".

But- I don't necessarily think it is true. I don't think that my choices now, and for the next 5 years, are unfixable and unchangeable. I don't. Because I believe in amazing things. Things I don't talk about on this blog because they would sound annoying and happy, and for better or worse this blog has become a weird exercise in pretending to judge annoying and happy people.

But I actually believe that every moment is the perfect moment. Even if I don't always live like that. (I will never repeat this sort of optimism again on this blog again). All of those self help books and spiritual quests, however selfish, must have gotten stuck in my head. So I know that even if I make "terrible decisions" and end up chopping off my left hand while I am learning to be a butcher and then marrying some kind of Alligator Swamp Hunter Man and living my life as a morgue beautician with a bad Velveeta-cheese-eating habit... or maybe the even more frightening life, would be a life of just doing the exact same thing I am doing now for the next 30 years... But even if, I will still be able to look out the window of the bus I am on, listening to music, looking at the trees and the birds and the sun and being very impressed with my ability to live in the moment and smile at the way the sun is hitting the trees.

So take that, Defining Decade! Or at least what that free sample of the Defining Decade said!

It is 2013, and I am almost 25, and today I am not going to worry about a thing.