Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The TwentySomething's Conundrum

I recently started wearing high heels. I have worn heels on a few occasions in the past (a strappy heeled sandal to prom or a brown pump to my high school internship at the YMCA), but I find myself wearing this species of shoe more and more since my time as a college graduate increases. During the course of the work day, I sometimes find myself taking in my heeled feet and mulling over things that I feel are important enough to write about here. I wonder when it was that I could wear high heels and get away with it without looking like a kid trying on her mother's shoes. When did I suddenly become an adult? Was it when I turned twenty-one? When I learned to take care of myself? When I graduated from college? In the past I could say defiantly that I was still a kid. I can remember being around fifteen or sixteen years old and going out to dinner alone with a group of my friends. Dinner alone! No parents, no one guiding my dining decision, no one there to pay the bill for me and figure out the tip. Even though my friends and I were doing something that seemed very adult by going out to dinner, I still felt like I was a kid playing grown up. I think I may have even said something along the lines of, "Guys, I feel so grown up!" to my friends - a clearly childlike thing to say.

It's funny, I can say with quite a bit of confidence that I still feel a lot like I did back at fifteen or sixteen today. As I get up to go to work each day it all seems temporary, like a game I am playing with my friends that will end as soon as dinner is ready. I see people around me graduating, getting jobs and some of them even getting married and I sometimes have to remind myself that this is not a game. I am an adult. What frightens me the most is that as a twentysomething, I have a "je ne sais quoi" that people value tremendously. It's youth. It's full of potential and discovery and flexibility (mentally, emotionally, AND physically). Ponce de León searched for it, women try to find it in little tubs of white cream, and I have no freaking idea what I am supposed to do with it. This is the twentysomething's conundrum, is it not? Twentysomethings have this dwindling resource in their hands and yet so many of us ask, "What should I be doing?!" Then, before we know it, youth begins to disappear in life's review mirror.

In an effort to discover just that - what it is that I should be doing as a twentysomething - I am going to be embarking on a road trip in a few weeks with my friends Lauren and Sarah. We'll be interviewing people along the way; people that we admire, people that have a story to tell, and people who have been where we are and lived to talk about it. We want to know what advice these more experienced individuals have. What can we do to tap into the power of youth? And we are powerful beyond measure. I always feel empowered when I read this quote by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is no that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, no our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Your post just totally stressed me out! Pretty soon I'm going to be old and using a walker, now what am I supposed to do??