Do you know that feeling when you step in water with socks on? Or when you drop your drink right after you bought it? Or when you’ve worked for hours upon hours on your assignment and then the computer dies on you without having saved your work? Perhaps this is the best way to describe what it’s like growing up.

Having passed the grand milestone of 21 years on this planet, I find myself in a predicament. More often do I catch myself taking mental strolls through the empty hallways of confusion, disorientation, stress, and insecurity. Sometimes it can feel like your brain is filled with more than its maximum capacity, and slowly the air in your lungs become one with the air around you. This is when you realize life is not all that you were promised it to be.

Whether you were the ‘perfect student’ always planning every step of your life, or you were the one who struggled the most to keep up, we all went through this feeling of being scared and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Working on your deadlines, networking for you career, exploring your interest, maintaining a social life, it can all become just a bit too much.

And when that safety net starts tearing you realize: What the fuck am I doing?

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

School and what not

High school to me is a systematized institution where any individual is stripped from their artistic expression and creative freedom. The moment you walk through the doors, your soul is forced into this box of idealized thinking, conform societal expectations. This starts very early on when you are asked to choose your subjects in high school. This is assuming that a 14 year old kid is capable of choosing what field of studies they’re interested in. Then it goes on to choosing what you want to do after high school; assuming you have to go to college, because is it socially accepted not to go to college? Finally after struggling your way through 3 or 4 years of what is supposed to be the best time of your life, you again find yourself in another endless void of grown-people decision making.

‘What will I do upon graduating from college?’

I have asked this question myself multiple times. There is still pressure of society pushing on your shoulders, strongly persuading you to get a graduate degree. Yet you also want to escape the constant cycle of sleep deprivation, lack of money, and culinary struggle meals.

What have we actually learned?

At this point, you realize you spend almost two decades in the educational system, without having gained any insights into what you actually want to do in your life. You were taught languages, how to add and subtract, and how to write papers. Now you’re about to be passed on to the grown-people world. But do you have any life skill that are necessary for survival? High school did not teach you how to take care of yourself. College did not teach you how to do your taxes, or how to get a house. Life did not teach you how take care of your mental health, nor did it teach you how to remain physically in shape, make friends and maintain healthy family relationships. All you are left with now is a student debt and that one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs.

This may all sound like a doom scenario, composed by an introverted kid stuck in his 2008 emo-phase. But trust me when I say that neither I, nor you, are the only ones going through this. But do not mistake me for my words; life can be exceptionally good, it’s just not all that was promised to us.

Perhaps this is what no one told us about growing up.