I can say, with a fair degree of certainty, that I've lived on both sides of this quote within the last twelve months.
It's challenging. Very challenging.
There are days that are amazing and beautiful and positive. Other days are just kinda ... average. And then there are days that are just plain awful - you question your purpose in life, your value to others (hell, I've even questioned my value PERIOD) and what you're supposed to do next.
When we were kids, growing up and anxious to be adults, I somehow never quite pictured it being like this.
Reality fell a little short of my childhood expectations, but has become so much better then I could have ever imagined in some regards.
I think as kids, we all assume that adulthood means no bedtime, we can eat whatever we want (to the detriment of our waistline, but when you're eleven and all you want is unlimited peanut butter and jelly sammichs and all the Gushers fruit snacks you can handle nobody thinks about the consequences), that we could go see our friends whenever we wanted, watch the movies we weren't allowed to, and there would be nobody telling us to make up our bed.
In the childhood version of what we thought being an adult would look like, chores were nonexistent. Although, to be fair to my childhood self, even as a thirty-something adult there are still days that I don't make up my bed.
The reality of the situation is that we go to school, graduate, then head to college. Some of us go in to that institution of higher learning brimming with confidence that we know exactly what we want to be when we grow up. The path is clear. The steps we need to take to get there are well defined. Some of us are engineers. Some of us came out doctors and nurses, others were social workers. And then there were those of us who woke up one day, looked in the mirror and realized that we have no idea what we're doing, what we're supposed to do, what we want to be, or how we're supposed to figure that out.
Maybe for some of us, our ambitions lay outside a college education.
For me, what I did in college was shaped largely by the life experiences I had in my personal life. So, I quit two semesters in and worked some fantastically awful jobs, and then went back a year or two later freshly armed with the idea that I was going to do Social Work.
Except, I didn't do that. I pursued an Arts degree, focusing in Sociology and Psychology - and because it was the trend at the time, I also did a certificate in Criminology. The plan was to do Social Work after that, and be a well-qualified one once I came out the other side holding to very expensive pieces of paper that I was supposed to frame and hang proudly on the wall of my living room.
For the sake of perspective, my Degree is hung on the wall of my parents room on the other side of the country.
I could have done Social Work, but the university I attended didn't have a fast track program - which meant I was looking at *another* four years of university. I was twenty-six when I graduated with my Arts degree, and plugging away at another four years (making me nearly thirty when I graduated) was enough to make me vomit. I could have gone to a university in another province to pursue Social Work, but the farthest I had ever been from home was the city where I had lived my entire university career. Move to a new province? By myself? At the time, I was never brave enough to do that.
The realities of growing up were something we never really thought about as kids while we fantasized. Instead, getting confronted by those realities is like getting slapped in the face with a dead fish.
Looking back now, I wish I had had enough sense to pay attention to what I had wanted to do as a kid. For a time I wanted to be a lawyer. Then a marine biologist (thanks, dolphins.) and then I wanted to pursue Journalism. I had always written as a kid. But somewhere along the line, I had forgotten about that particular dream. Right now, I wish I hadn't. But ... c'est la vie.
Fast forward nearly ten years after university graduation and here I am.
I'm on the opposite side of the country, livin' in CowTown.
I bought my own vehicle.
I've seen the Rocky Mountains.
I've experienced hail storms - that got old real quick, lemme tell ya.
I've been in my first car accident.
Ange is gone, but Verity is here.
Christmas was spent with a new partner, my best friend on the face of the planet came home, and I gained ten pounds eating all the Christmas goodies.
I've also been neck deep in helping with home renovation projects, and have become completely smitten with him and his mini-me. I've also learned how to "cut in" while painting and properly tape a room. I'm also debating learning how to do re-do a kitchen backsplash.
In some ways, it's the happiest I've ever been, and no amount of dreaming as a kid could have even come close to this reality.
I've also been unemployed for months.
I'm living in a city of a million people where the unemployment rate in between 8%-10%. Competition is stiff. Oil and gas hasn't quite recovered out here, and some people (I happen to be one of them) wonder if it ever will.
No amount of dreaming as a kid could have come close to this reality.
But, I wouldn't change it.
It's true, I feel the universe is full on testing my will. There are days where I do feel broken and defeated and lower than a bow-legged caterpillar. It's hard to be positive some days. I feel a little lost. But, as my best girlfriend said to me yesterday "Lost is when we find ourselves. Use the space wisely, you will get your answers."
God, she's smart.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes shit happens. Sometimes shit doesn't happen. Either way it's definitely an experience. It's not always a positive experience, but it all helps shape the person you become, pushes you towards a better, stronger, truer version of you.
You don't have to do it by yourself. Find your tribe. Know that it's okay to have tough days - they make the good days that much sweeter. Your worth is not determined by your paycheck or your job, or lack thereof.
That's a tough one. I'm still struggling with it, to be honest. It's okay if you don't get that one right away.
Just remember that nothing is permanent. All good things come in their time. Practice patience. Have courage. Be kind (especially to yourself).