Monday, 2 May 2016

Having Your S*** Together

In July 2015, I was maybe slightly freaking out about turning 25 - oh, fine, I was a mess. In all honesty I think my quarter life crisis started a couple of years before this point, but something about being twenty-five made it seem very official. My mum asked why I was so freaked out about the whole thing, and I replied “I just thought that when I turned 25, I’d have my shit together."

And then my mum told me a story. 

She said that when she was 24, she met my dad and they got engaged. When she was 27, they got married. Then they had my older sister, Hannah. When she was 29, she had me.

In her early thirties, her high school friends came over to visit. They saw her nice house, her husband and her two children, they heard about her steady job, and they turned to my mum and said “Caroline, you are the one who has your shit together the most out of all of us.” (Yes, they actually said that.)

“…Then everything unraveled in my fifties,” said my mum. I nodded, because I knew all about that. After she turned 50, she spilt up with my dad. They’ve been separated ever since, and have tried to patch things up several times, but decided to get divorced earlier this year. 

And then my mum said the most important thing I’ve ever heard:

“The point is, Alice, it doesn’t matter if you have your shit together. Because your life can always un-shit itself." 

When she said that, it was like a weight being lifted from my shoulders. I'd always thought that at 25 I had to have my own flat, at 30 I had to have a good job and be married, etc. I don't know where I got these ridiculous ideas from, but I know I'm not the only one who has them. But life shouldn't be a race. Sure, I could try to tick everything off some made-up list of Life Accomplishments, but I might actually forget to live my life in the process... which would make it even more devastating when my plans would fall apart, as they always do. That sounds really depressing, but I promise it's not supposed to be. It's liberating. Honest.

What's the most important life lesson you've ever learned?

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