Sports, seasons, semesters – everything we experience as children is finite. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end to everything we do, and it is usually strictly scheduled.
Adulthood throws that notion on its head. Setting goals like being married at 25, getting a house within 2 years, and being debt-free by 35, are overly simplistic and laughable. They are goals that are achievable for some people, but once you are out of school (be it high school or college, with or without a degree) you can’t simply advance to the next stage of life by doing everything on the syllabus.
Thus, after you strike out on your own, it is harder to set benchmarks. There is no grading system, no end of the season, and no real criteria for success. You enter the struggle of “adulting,” and when things work out, it’s just one sigh of relief that a part of the puzzle came together. After you finish your education, you are expected to work and actually live the life you’ve prepared for until you retire, and it can feel like you’ll be bushwhacking all the way to retirement, never knowing if you’re on the right path or if there is any path at all.
I always thought that I would feel this great sense of accomplishment when I got my first job that was writing-related in any form. But it was underwhelming – I knew it wouldn’t pay much and I would need an additional full-time job to survive, and then when I started, I had no sense of spiritual fulfillment of finally being somewhere I wanted to be. It was just a way to get my foot in the door to something better somewhere down the road.
I was taken aback when my brother asked me how it felt now that I had “made it.” I didn’t feel like I had achieved much of anything because it was such a small step. That’s partially why I started blogging again. I realized that I’m not going to feel any lasting sense of accomplishment from a regular 9-5 job, and I wanted to do something more while I am waiting for that opportunity to come along. Sharing my thoughts every day, connecting with others, and reminding myself of why I love to write is a new triumph that I celebrate every day.