I hope they like me. Am I overdressed? Shit, this dress totally shows my panty lines. As I shuffled up to the security desk at 50 Milk Street in downtown Boston, my mind was on full blown %*&#@****. It wasn’t even necessarily that it was the first day of my summer internship; I’m used to the semester-long show up to an office and then head back to school in September deal. But this time, there’s no move out date and no group chats comparing Fall class schedules. This time, it’s all a little more real. Maybe I won’t be in Boston forever but at least for the foreseeable future, I plan to call the subway ‘the T’ and pretend to be a Redsox fan.
What I’m coming to realize is that this adult world is weird; its filled with freedom and opportunity but also can turn into a rabbit hole of stress and mundane routine. You can scroll through Linkedin and Indeed looking for your dream job but what if its not what you thought it would be? What if your plan was misguided? It almost seems like being an adult means, more or less, obligatory commitment. You commit to a job, a dog, and maybe even another person. Some of those commitments are enhancing, like a passion project or a friendship built on years of agreeing to disagree and out of the blue phone calls. But other times, a faltering relationship or what-feels-like a dead-end job can stagnate your plans and insight regretful thoughts about the choices you’ve made. What if I…, why did I…, how did I think that?
Its easy to get into the habit of just doing what you think you have to in order to avoid sitting with yourself and uncomfortable thoughts. Its hard to see your aspirations and know that you’re not there standing alongside them. But if you hadn’t broken up with your ex and spent time with yourself, you wouldn’t know that something fulfills you more than their company. If you hadn’t taken the leap and spent months traveling the world, you wouldn’t have known what real thrill feels like. And if you hadn’t found the wrong job then you’d never be any closer to the right one. This linearity of life’s ‘path’, while it may be true for a handful of folks, rarely is more than a nasty voice in the back of our heads telling us that we’re inadequate. Drive and initiative will send you in the right direction but if the two morph into solidified expectations, we’re not given the space we need to veer off for a detour to a neighborhood we never knew we’d love. These little junkets, moments of happenstance if you will, can be messy and indecipherable in the moment, but let them brew for a bit and some clarity is bound to come to the surface. There will always be multiple destinations and the best you can do is to enjoy the view as you’re along for the ride. Welcome to TBD.