Nostalgia is the addiction no one warned me about.
This past summer has been spent in a blurry, blanket-hugging mess of a transition.
They say it’s okay to take your time in finding your place in the world — no one really knows what they’re doing, no matter how much it looks like they’ve got their life put together. Fundamentally, we’re all afraid: of being alone, of being rejected, of loving unrequitedly. In a short three month period, all those fundamental human fears were realized, and despite the plethora of blog posts offering inspirational advice assuring me that it was all right to not know what I was doing, that my twenties were meant to be rife with the disappointment and failure that would lead to growth as a person, my thoughts would consistently, inevitably turn to dark corners. If I wasn’t spending time in the sewers of my brain, I found myself, far too often, reminiscing a past and a future that were irrelevant given their state of not being present.
Where once I could easily muster 40-50 people to attend a Feminist Friday bash, I now find myself scouring the Earth for 7 friends to bring to a bar for a happy hour deal. College was a time of living large, daring greatly, and somehow graduating with flying colors despite minimal academic effort. The Transition has so far been a time of quiet solitude, intense self-doubt, and prolonged self-loathing. I have told myself, time and again, “I need to snap out of my own wallow and grief and get my shit together,” to no avail.
Our lives are constantly in a state of transition and change, but this particular Transition has been spent, almost entirely, retreating in the comforts of an alternate, non-existent reality.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling of low-key depression and this return to angst — many of my Funemployed peers are facing similar confrontations with their inner demons. Even those who are employed at the most prestigious companies with absurd starting salaries share a restless, dissatisfied anxiety. I’m certain there is no one of my generation who is completely content. But that’s the way it should be: we’re still too young to be content. We aren’t meant to be satisfied, because there’s just so much more to do.
So how do we deal with the Transition, this phase of isolated discontentment? If I were to measure this summer in terms of productivity, or to hold it up to any worldly standards of success (money, security, more money), I would come up with a big fat egg. But sometimes there’s something to a summer of turmoil and blurred confusion.
I learned that when life presents you with an opportunity to be reckless, snatch it greedily. Someone recently told me that the best way to miss out on my twenties was to spend it worrying about missing out on my twenties. Stop worrying, and start being (smartly) reckless.
Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Most importantly, forgive yourself.
Be patient. Not everything will come at once, but it will come eventually. If you let it though, time will fly right past your face. Three months will disappear just like that. It’s up to you to focus.
If that person doesn’t love you back in that way, that’s okay. You can still be happy in friendship.
One of my best friends recently described my life as “the montage” — that sequence in romantic comedies when life gets so boring that it doesn’t even merit screen time, but is simply montaged into a series of images. The montage is fun to watch in movies, but it can be Hell to actually live through. Embrace the montage, and love it. This is the time we get on Earth, and it’s all we have. Rather than spend it all in the past or the future, enjoy the simple, small things that give you pleasure. For example, the fact that we live in the goddamn Millennium.
No matter what problems you may have, there is no better time to be alive than right now.