Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Not-So-Mid-Life Crises

I have always been a firm believer of reinventing oneself. Photos of me throughout my teenage life are proof of this, as I went through various phases involving too much eyeliner or only listening to ~obscure music. I spent time building my own identity that featured acting and opinions on abortion and reading lots of Jack Kerouac, partly to distinguish myself from how I was viewed by my schoolmates and family and teachers. I was always the girl that would flourish in college, being told I just had to make it through the school years first. At least no one tried to convince me they were the best years of my life.
So I went to college because that is what is expected of you in the modern world, and because college was going to make all my hopes and dreams come true. Spoiler alert: it didn't. Questions about why I chose my degree or what I plan to do with it make me want to scream because I don't really know, I'm in college because college is what all the kids who want a future do these days. Ask me what I plan to do with myself and you'll get vague mumbles about aspirations for acting or internships or travelling, but instead I spend my time putting off writing essays about Voltaire and reading blogs about other people's interesting lives. I feel like the quintessential twenty-something that sees their own life reflected in Girls, but I haven't even turned twenty yet.
Sitting down and deciding what to do with my life has suddenly become a lot more difficult than it was when I was fifteen, because it's this oppressing realisation that any dreams I have now are entirely within my own power to make happen. It's a scary thought because suddenly I have no one to blame but myself for how my life is going. In fairness, I've done pretty well: I got a job, moved out, and started doing yoga videos off YouTube. However, I'm terrified of looking back on 2013 in ten years time and think "what did I do with myself that year I was nineteen?"
Sure, things like moving out of my mum's and finishing my first year of college are pretty monumental, but when I look around at my friends and their creative endeavors, I feel hopelessly defunct. I have friends that are defined by their intelligence, their musical abilities etc, but I often wonder what I'm defined by. I'm that girl who is outrageously loud, who wears vintage clothes, who looks like Zooey Deschanel, who goes crazy during exams, who gets mistaken for a drama student. It's hard not to feel like a collection of quirks sometimes, and this is entirely my own fault. When you find yourself defining your personality by your interest in 90's television, you know you're slipping into being just another quirky college student.
Sitting down and deciding what you want to do with your life is scary. Sitting down and trying to figure out what you actually like is even scarier, because that's a defining feature of your personality. I like reading, I like writing, I like roller derby, I like acting, I like clothes. So you book yourself into acting classes and spend  outrageous amounts of money on roller skates and put photos of your outfits on your Instagram and Tumblr and write your blog and hope that it will all pay off someday and you won't be just another person.

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