I’ve spent the better part of the last two years living in fear.
One of my biggest fears growing up was the fear of settling.
That’s a weird fear for a 10-year-old to have.
I’ve always wanted to live an exceptional life, to help others, and leave this world a better place than I found it.
Instead of letting that desire drive me, I’ve let fear rule much of my life since graduating college.
That’s when the fear really set in. Growing up, most of us are on the same timeline, you go to school, maybe go to college, graduate, then find a job.
But then what? After 22 years of knowing what was next, I suddenly felt like I was behind.
I couldn’t go on social media without seeing an engagement announcement, someone getting their dream job, moving to an amazing city.
And while I was always happy for whoever I was seeing, I couldn’t help but feel like I was falling behind. Like somehow, my timeline wasn’t quite matching up.
And then one night it hit me. And since then, everything has changed.
Until a few weeks ago, I would have been afraid to be this vulnerable.
Until a few weeks ago, I was afraid I would never live up to my potential. I was afraid I never find my dream job. I was afraid I would never find my purpose.
I was afraid I would never get married, or have children of my own, or make any sort of difference.
I let that fear drive me into depression.
I’m not embarrassed to admit anxiety and depression run in my family. I’m not embarrassed to share with the world that I take medication daily to help with my anxiety. I’m not embarrassed to say I see a therapist weekly, and I don’t think you should be embarrassed of any of these things either.
It’s a little harder to admit I spend three straight weekends in bed, binge-watching Netflix, getting Panera bagels delivered whenever I could stomach a meal, only leaving the house when I had to let my dog out.
It’s hard to admit that on New Years Eve, I laid in bed after working late, and as the clock struck midnight, I thought 2019 would certainly be my year.
This year has been anything but. In addition to sinking back into depression, I had my heart broken, found a side of myself I never knew existed, lost a family member, and have dealt with some pretty stressful health problems.
There are so many worse things happening to thousands of people each day. But for a while, I felt like I just couldn’t catch a break.
I turn 25 in a little over a week. And to be honest, I had been dreading it for months.
My life could not be further from what I pictured it would look like at 25. Here I was, heading into a milestone year, single, broke, confused as to what to do next, and totally missing the point.
Then one night about a month ago, I finally had had enough.
I don’t know what it was, but in that moment, I decided I couldn’t let fear control my life for one more second. Because the truth is, I wasn’t living at all.
I was merely existing, going through the motions, comparing myself to everyone else, and feeling terrible about it.
In just a few weeks time I’ve found a peace I haven’t felt in a very long time.
I’m not afraid.
Instead of dreading turning 25, I’m so excited. It’s another change to start a new chapter. One that I’m going to write, instead of letting fear dictate every move.
In a few weeks time, I’ve realized everyone’s timeline is different. That mine isn’t meant to look like my friends, or my peers, or anyone else’s.
It is uniquely mine, and that is the beauty of it.
I’ve learned that opening my mind and my heart to possibilities leads to opportunity.
I’ve embraced the unknown with everything in me, and that has made me feel free.
I’ve been living completely and totally unafraid. The way life is meant to be lived.
So here I am in the in-between. Studying for law school. Which I may or may not go to. Exploring some exciting career opportunities in cities across the world. Ditching dating sites. Instead, vowing to just get out in the world and live. To connect with my girlfriends, and travel, and take the time to learn more about myself, and what I really want out of this crazy, beautiful life.
While I’m in the in-between, I hope my purpose can be to resonate with just one other person who may be feeling the same way.
I hope my tiny corner of the internet can be one filled with honesty, and truth. Because life isn’t just a highlight reel. Look beyond the picture. Read the caption.
Everyone has a story to tell.