“It’s like standing in place and watching everyone else and everything else move forward.
And you can’t move forward, too.”
I sent this in a message to a friend today. We were talking about relationships and how it seems like everyone around me is having really important things happen to them, like getting engaged, while I’m just sitting here waiting for something magnificent to happen in my own life. Or maybe for me just not to feel like I’m not doing anything significant with my life right now.
And how ridiculous it is for me to think that. Of course I’m doing something significant: I’m going to law school, and I’m 2/3 of the way finished with it, and if everything goes according to plan, next summer I’ll take the Bar Exam, pass it, and begin a career in which I can really help people and hopefully make some kind of difference, even if only a small difference, in this world. That’s significant, right? Logically, I know that it is, but maybe it doesn’t feel that way right now because I’m in the thick of this experience with law school and only just barely beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with it.
I also think that I’m feeling pressure in certain areas of my life right now, and because I don’t feel that I’m “successful” in those areas, I must be doing something wrong. Dating, for example. I feel like I’m always whining about the fact that I’m a complete failure in this aspect of my life, but lately it has really been twisting my heart. What’s wrong with me? Why hasn’t someone, anyone, come along? Am I unloveable? Am I inadequate? These are the questions I torture myself with on a daily basis, and not even just when it comes to significant others. I ask myself these questions with respect to many people in my life. Lack of romantic relationships, broken friendships, other burned bridges with people. It’s easy to let the failures, the perceived failures (whether they’re mine or someone else’s that have affected me) pile up and weigh on my heart like a boulder.
Sometimes I look around, look at the people around me, and feel the importance of their lives wash over me, making me feel so very aware of the lack of importance I feel when it comes to my own life. What am I doing with myself that’s so great? Who am I impacting positively in this world right now? Does anyone need me? Want me? Again, boulders. So very heavy on my heart.
Tonight, I went to work out at my CrossFit gym. I knew what the workout was going to be, and knew that I probably would be the last one to finish. I hate being last, being so behind everyone else and feeling like a complete loser. In many ways, this feeling I get when I’m in the gym getting my ass handed to me is the same feeling I have in life outside of the gym, too. I feel slow, behind, so incredibly aware of my inadequacies. And yet, on nights like tonight when I feel that way, I still keep pushing, keep going, even if it seems like it’s at a snail’s pace compared to everyone else around me. Slow and steady. Because I know that there is a purpose, there is some significance to all of this, to me. There has to be. There has to be something pushing me forward. And that something must have some reason for forcing me to do this way, this slowly and painfully, because there are so many lessons one can learn from being forced to live in and through her pain.
And so, while it feels like I’m standing in place, still and without and progress and with everyone around me moving on and leaving me in their dust, I know that I’m moving, changing, growing, in all directions. Not as quickly as I’d like, and not in all of the ways that I’d like right now, but I’m not the same person, standing in the same place, that I was even just a year ago.
I’m not religious, but I imagine that if I were, I’d be on my knees right now praying to have the purpose of all of this revealed to me. Just give me the answers already, damnit! Lead me out of this maze so that I can get to the better part of this life. But getting ourselves through the maze and learning from the wrong turns (and oh, will there be wrong turns) is the point of it all, isn’t it? I know this, deep down, but I try to fight it anyway.
Slow and steady, Tara. Slow and steady. Our journeys are our own, tailored just for us, and comparing footprints between completely different paths from completely different maps is useless. All we can do is learn to navigate what we have the best that we can and work our way toward the purpose that is imprinted in us all.