I’m going back to work tomorrow. My month of medical leave after breaking an elbow has finally run out, and I have been freaking out about it.
This last month has been the closest thing to ‘summer vacation’ I’ve had since high school. Lots of sunny days in the park, staying in bed late, staying up with videogames, reading a bunch of books, spending an afternoon in the library… it’s been nice and relaxing.
I’ve been enjoying all this freedom and using it to spend time with my friends and by myself, and I feel overwhelmed thinking that soon I’ll be going back to being in an office 9 hours a day, 6 days a week.
However, it’s not just having to adjust to work again that’s bothering me, it’s also the realisation I don’t find my work or my life fulfilling anymore, and that terrifies me.
I have a friend who spent all high school getting great grades and taking the right courses to help her on her way to her dream career. She’s still solidly in that path, and things look bright. I have another friend getting paid very, very well to do what she pretty much loves doing. A couple more friends have already married people they love very, very much.
It really seems they all have life figured out, or know what they love and feel passionate about, and are in some way working towards it. I find this very, very depressing because even though I know no one feels completely confident about life, it really seems like they know what they want for their lives, while I just don’t.
Since I was 8 or 9 years old, I’ve only had one dream: to be a woman.
I’ve had other interests. I want to be a writer. I enjoy graphic design and could see myself doing it. I love music, and would kill to be a songwriter or performer. Nothing is clear, though. Not like my lifelong dream.
When I was in high school struggling to get through another night of dull reading and school reports, or in college trying to get out of bed after sleeping a whole 40 minutes, only the thought of a distant future where I could be myself kept me going.
It was my star in the sky, the compass bearing of my life, the one path I followed. When I fell into depression in my second or third semester of college, the one thing that helped me get out of the house and stop pitying myself was knowing I couldn’t give up before achieving my goal.
What do heroes do after they come back to Ithaca?
What do you do after you’ve been fighting and travelling for years on a journey to a land that seems ever-distant, when you’ve accepted you’re on an impossible journey and your hope turns to hopelessness, but you keep on going because you don’t know what else you could do… and then you get there?
I spent over 21 years on my life on a path to one single goal. In my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood I’ve kept on walking in the same direction, and about 7 months ago, I finally got there.
In late May, early June of 2015 [dead name] ceased to be, and Lily was truly born. The one thing I’d always hoped for in my heart of hearts, the only wish I would have done anything for… came true. I’ve been enjoying it, of course. It is absolutely amazing to be living something I never allowed myself to imagine would actually come true.
It’s been 7 months though. While I’m still happy, I’ve grown a little used to it, and I’ve slowly been working up to today. What now?
I don’t love my job. A lot of my friends have moved on because of several reasons. I dislike my living situation. I feel stagnant, and I don’t have my star in the sky to walk towards. I don’t know what to do next.
For the first time in my life, I don’t have something to look up to, inspire me to keep going, or tell me what I need to do next.
On Sunday I went to watch Star Wars again. It was fun. I left the mall around 1:30pm, and tried to think of what to do next. After wandering around the mall aimlessly for a while, I decided to look for a park I’d spotted on the bus a few days earlier. I left the mall and started walking south. It was a very dark and windy day, the weather reflecting my confused state of mind well. I walked in moody silence for an hour, until I finally spotted the park I was looking for.
It was beautiful.
Avoiding the kids with their parents and people walking their dogs, I walked near a tree, sat in its shade, closed my eyes, and tried to meditate.
Some 10 or 15 minutes later, I got up and walked back home. I needed that to settle my emotions a bit.
The feeling of hopelessness and fear has been coming back, and I had to sit and calm my thoughts this morning again. I know I can’t keep doing this. Especially now I’m coming back to work, I can’t just take more and more frequent breaks to meditate. I need to decide on what I want the next chapter of my life to be focused on.
January is just a couple of weeks away. There are so many doors my life could take next. I could go back to University and get an upgrade on my graphic design degree, or maybe study Literature. I can apply for different design agencies and hope I get hired. I could write short stories, illustrate them, and somehow get a book published.
I don’t know. I have to decide on something because I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t, but I’m afraid to make the wrong choice, because I’ll have to settle on something and stick by it without feeling the 100% certainty I did about starting gender transition.
Welcome to the real world of everyone else, I suppose. I’m having to decide what my happily ever after means, what I’ll write my future to be. I hope I can choose right.
Considering most of you are older than me, I imagine you’re laughing because you went through similar existential crises and know they turned out all right? What similar struggles have you had in life? What advice do you have for someone at a crossroads in life?