I’ve been experiencing a lot of self doubt lately. I’ve been sitting in a cloud of off-white melancholy that seems to tinge many of my experiences. I’ve been watching my classmates, best friends, brothers and sisters, graduating and moving forward with big, beautiful strides into their own magnificent story. I’ve been doing a lot of feeling stuck.
I am working in Bali for 3 more weeks. I will return to Northeastern for one more year of classes before my own graduation after a 5 year journey. I will persevere through that last year because I know the extra time brought me incredible experiences like scuba diving in Bali, hiking mountains in Chile, studying Arabic in Jordan, volunteering with students in Boston, and moving far from home and being entirely alone.
But as an anxiety-prone individual with type-A tendencies, an affinity for crying, and no clue about her future, I’ve been doing a lot of feeling lost.
When I graduate next year, I don’t know where to go or what to do. I could move to Mexico and lead tours in Oaxaca. I could study environmental education in Australia. I could hike the Pacific Crest Trail for 5 months. I could stay in D.C. and be close to family. I could move abroad and be close to my partner.
I feel frozen by the possibilities.
I know that any decision is only temporary. That my life will shift endlessly. I will be a teacher, a hiker, a girlfriend, alone, loved, lost and blissful. The world will always work things out.
Yet it is totally valid to feel scared, confused and overwhelmed.
If I don’t go to Australia, will my relationship survive? If I don’t stay in America, will I miss important moments with my family? If I don’t follow my own passion, am I sacrificing my dreams for someone else?
These are real concerns with high risk. And yes, I am a privileged millennial, but that shouldn’t disqualify my anxieties. The voice still exists. It still has a presence in my everyday life.
I must remember that the first step is the scariest. When you jump off a 15 m waterfall, you don’t think about the height while falling. When you hike solo for the first time you still walk forward. When you live in a village where they don’t speak English, you learn the language. You simply do the thing.
So cheers to now. To the unknown bits and pieces of my life. Cheers to the graduates who are moving forward with concrete plans. To those who are still just figuring it out. Cheers to those that are doing it, whatever it is, wherever it is. Cheers to doing the thing.
Post inspired by the ever-inspirational and comforting Erin Outdoors: http://erinoutdoors.com/do-the-thing/