I never thought my twenties would be this hard. I never thought I’d be complaining about a time when I would have the most freedom to do whatever I wanted. A time when I was old enough to go where I wanted to go and rich enough to buy whatever I wanted to buy (not that I make a lot of money…I just don’t have a need for the “finer things” in life). A time when I wasn’t quite responsible for my own wife and children, yet had no obligation to tend to my mother and father (who might actually enjoy having an empty nest after all). The twenties–a decade that screams “It’s all about you! Enjoy it while it lasts.”
So, why are my twenties so hard? Why are there so many days like this, when I would feel utterly lonely, entirely spent from a third of my day at work, restless with whatever evening I have left to spare? Why are there so many days that I feel like I’ve wasted? That I wish I could take back? Why do I feel like I have so much catching up to do? What am I even trying to catch up to, or with?
Perhaps I feel like being in my twenties should entitle me to automatic-fun days every day of this decade–and the problem is that I’m not. Perhaps a part of me feels a little slighted, a bit indignant. I know and hear about people living like there’s no tomorrow–boozing it up, sexing it up, not giving a care about anything beyond their five senses. These people waited all their lives for the twenties. They’ll even try to extend it into the thirties if they can help it. They’re having fun. They’re reaping the benefits of their fleeting youth. I get it.
But I don’t get it at the same time. Because if it were that simple then I don’t know why I’m still miserable whenever I am out “where the people are” or when I see a friend get hammered. I haven’t fully bought into the seductive lie that it’s about me–and I can’t. This small part deep inside of me–perhaps more, who knows–knows that there’s got to be more to my life than this. But I guess I haven’t fully turned my ear from it either.
In spite of it all, there is something inside me that tells me to hold on, especially on days like this. It tells me to keep waiting. To keep praying. To keep giving. To keep counting my blessings. To keep walking, even when I feel like sitting down and raising my flag. It tells me that even when it doesn’t feel like it, I am still living it right.
I am reminded that there is a cost for everything in life. The greater the prize, the bigger the cost. Sacrifices are demanded. Athletes give up certain foods and habits to train their bodies to compete. It’s no different from writing a good story. The best stories always take the most time, creativity, and effort to complete.
I suppose then it is no different with life. The lives worth living, and the obituaries worth reading, are the ones that tell of the sacrifices made to give, reach, teach, and love. Stories like these are being written everyday, and they are the ones that will be remembered forever. But they are often overlooked or go unnoticed, and maybe that’s what makes it so hard to buy. But I should know better by now–didn’t they always tell me not to judge a book by its cover?
I believe I will get through this one day. I hope one day I will look back to these times, when my neurosis was on full drive and misery as my only company, and appreciate them for what they were worth, and how they made the ending that much greater.