Monday, April 29, 2013

the pressure is off.

{photo by Gabriela Herman}

I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the right thing. This is shocking to no one, certainly not groundbreaking information as we approach the middle mark of this very bizarre-for-me year. 

But combine that built-in pressure with the events of the past few weeks, and it's no wonder things have suddenly become complicated and difficult. The balance is off, and at 27, it feels a little like my world is falling apart, which isn't at all true or fair, but is an accurate representation of the dramatic direction of my thoughts as of late. 

I am, quite simply, worn out. So much in my life is influx, and I don't have the words I usually use to maintain equilibrium. And the words aren't just being kept off the internet. They're not being written in my journal or shared with many friends. I have clammed right up, not wanting to explain all that is up in the air, all the decisions that must be made and what their implications could be. 

This month, I've read a lot of books, and I think it's because I've just needed to escape. And in the middle of these escapist novels (full reviews headed your way this week), I've found truth. 

Saturday I was finishing Someday, Someday, Maybe -- a new novel by Gilmore Girls alum Lauren Graham, so of course, not reading it wasn't really an option. I'm sure some people will read it and think it's fluff, but sometimes, you need fluff, and it turns out, you can find words of wisdom in the fluff too. 

"Barney seems positively cheerful about my age, as if approaching 27 years old isn't a time to panic. He's talking to me as though I'm young.... For some reason, he doesn't seem to think I'm behind at all."

Out of the context of both Lauren's story and my own, those words may not appear as profound as I found them. But when I read them, in the middle of the store on a quiet Saturday, I felt my burden lift and my chest loosen. I am not running out of time. My dreams are not disappearing, and I am not running out of time

It's too soon to share the plot of my latest story with you, but what I can say is that Jordan and I have fairly major life decisions to make, and this time, any of the decisions we could make -- may have to make -- will be a little bit painful. Because change is painful for me. It just is.

And that pressure I mentioned earlier? Well, that pressure had reached monumental proportions last week, bubbling up inside of me, making me anxious and tired and lethargic. I feel like my world is falling apart when, at 27, it should be coming together. 

But guys? Twenty-seven does not mean I automatically have it all together. And saying goodbye to old dreams or starting new ones, at 27? That's perfectly normal. This is what our 20s are about, and the older I'm getting, the more I'm realizing at 30, or 40, or 50? I'll be able to make changes then, too. May even have to. And so this pressure? It's a little pointless. 

"'Maybe you haven't accomplished what you want yet,' Dan says. 'But what that book shows is how you have kept filling up the pages. Quantity becomes quality, by itself... Just keep at it, keep filling up the pages, and something's bound to happen.'"

I'm filling a little freer today. The decisions are still there, waiting to be made, but I'm trying not to see them as burdens anymore. I'm trying to minimize them a bit. I think I made mountains out of our decisions, forgetting I can even move those if I need to. 

We can make these decisions, and we can unmake them down the road if needed. I can breathe a little easier, because the pressure is off. I'm 27, and I'm still just trying to figure things out. And if it takes me a little while, that's okay. 

It's hard to see now, but I have time. Lots and lots and lots of time.


Staley Mc said...

Thanks for this post Annie, I've been struggling lately with having it all together at 23 and I need to just let it go and know it will all come together the way it should!

paulakiger said...

Thank you for sharing all this, Annie. I can't think of a way to say "I know how you feel" that doesn't sound insincere -- but I (48) am struggling with issues that sound very similar. I think you were at Cheryl Strayed's speech at FSU in February? She said, "sometimes you have to break your own heart to get your dreams" (paraphrasing) and for me that's true -- I have to let go of some hopes (and yes at this point some dreams). But I have to have the courage to take the hard steps -- I have kids watching to see if I've got the guts. And oddly I have had two very vivid dreams in the last couple of months - very rare for me -- and one yesterday was during a brief nap - and my companion and I were supposed to take a short trip in town on a defined path and ended up driving out, out, out -- somewhere pretty but that was not where I originally intended to go. And I couldn't get back. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to. I meant to write that all out and never did so ...thanks for giving me the impetus to do it here. (And - different topic -- thank you for your help/support with World Book Night - it was great!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I just got permission to take a deep breath. Thank you.

A friend pointed out to me today something so similar to this. She said, "You like lists, right? I haven't seen you make a list or write in your journal or your planner or your blog in weeks. No wonder you always feel sick." (Sick, as in, nauseated because I'm so absolutely and utterly panicked over everything happening around me that I didn't know was going to happen.)

But she was so right.
And this was so on point.

Thanks for sharing, Annie, even when sharing is just the last thing you want to do. You're a gift.

mackieandryan said...

I think very few people have it all figured out! We don't (at almost 27 years of age). And we're bringing another little one into the world! But everyone we know told us'll never be ready!

Always enjoy reading your thoughts :)