20-Something Restlessness

When life gives you lemons,
Follow the crowd and make some lemonade.
…or a lemon pie.
…or a lemon cocktail.
Holy moly make some guacamole!
Or for real, just sell them and buy hotdogs*

I’m mad at myself. I came to Yaounde with such excitement and an open mind, submersed completely in the moment… and I’ve spent the last two months worrying about a decision I have convinced myself I need to make by Christmas. No one gave me that date, I subconsciously set it in stone and consequently ruined my presence and caused myself unneeded stress. I have so many things to be happy about here and grateful towards. It’s that 20-something restlessness clinging to my every move and nestling in my every thought, questioning my direction and decision… this 20-something restlessness (along with multiple health issues) is the core distortion of my experience and my time in Africa.

This uneasy and anxious mind is an old friend of mine. The company has knocked on my door many times before. And what did I do? I kept the door closed, and I shut it out. I stayed where I was, blocking out the crowded “what ifs” flooding my sanity and feeding my doubts. Don’t get me wrong, great things came from keeping that door closed. I’ve made great life long friends, I have two degrees, and somewhat of a grasp on what I want to eventually do with my life (ok who are we kidding, I have no idea). This time feels different though. I waited five years to open that door, and instead I travelled over 11,528 km to be greeted by the same old friend, and having to turn the same lock once again.

I am so tempted to feed these doubts; to feed these restless feet and loose myself in a world of no direction and careless spirit. Although I feel as though I am directionless here in Yaounde, I also feel trapped and claustrophobic. I’m not ready for such a commitment. I’m not ready to pour myself into one thing completely. I don’t have the devotion and passion I see from my colleagues and I feel guilty giving my students my sub-par self. I waited a long time to finish my undergrad and I kept that door of doubts locked up tight. I don’t want to lock doors right now. Soon I will need to start a career and maybe I’ll have a partner or family, whom I will make sacrifices for. But for now, and until that time comes, I am only responsible for me and my own ease of mind.

So, I say to myself and all my fellow lost 20-somethings: Whatever you do, don’t just sit there and stare at your lemons as they rot in your brain. Make a freaking decision and follow each step with confidence in your self, your choice, and the great potential of your chosen lemons. Believe in your lemonade or hotdogs with every cell inside of you. Don’t look back on the other things you could have made or done – move forward with acceptance and forgiveness. It serves no one to wallow on the “what ifs”. Everything will fall into place sweet pea, just believe in yourself; you know what’s best for you. For once, follow a path for you, not for the pleasure of others.

All my heart,

Chlo

*Shout out to my Minot ladies. Miss you peanuts.

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5 thoughts on “20-Something Restlessness

  1. Rachel Krauss says:

    Mhm mhm, I definitely needed this refresher today Chlo.
    Thanks for putting so many of my worries into perspective, we know ourselves best, I love it. Even if we don’t know it this is so true and I’m glad you put it into words ❤
    I hope you are having a lovely day and thank you for making mine better!!!
    Loves of love your way you lovely creature (ghost hugs)!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Molly says:

    Kay have you been reading my diary?
    “I’m not ready for such a commitment. I’m not ready to pour myself into one thing completely” was the opening line of an email I sent to my mom today. Technically, it was an email discussing if I would be up in time for 11am dim-sum on Jan 1st, but I feel like it could also be used as a blanket statement for my life.
    Who knew we could be suffering these anxieties together this entire time? I mean the clues were all there: frantic May travel plans, big F.U.’s to grad school and the classic run away across the world trick. Well, at least we know neither of us are meant to be detectives. Lets make a habit of comparing 20-something restlessness thoughts and making hotdog metaphors.

    Liked by 1 person

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