[via Instagram]. After 9 miles of running in 90 degree heat, I reached the Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA).
This summer answered the question “what would you do if you did not have to work?”
After experiencing some burn out from teaching high school last year, I decided intentionally to not work this summer because “work” meant never-ending lesson planning and grading and it meant desperately trying to continue to prove myself as a competent adult and young professional in this crazy, competitive world. I really just could not fathom working another job because teaching had taken over my life and my identity so completely. I didn’t think that this summer would be about anything but relaxing 3,557 miles away from my students. (Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching…and I love it mostly because I love my students! But sometimes you need a break, you need some personal space).
My typical day looks like this: swim/bike/run/gym (or some combination of those activities), fall asleep in the sun, read a book for leisure with a tall glass of cold lemonade, write in my journal, eat Mexican food, sleep.
So after a mini-quarter-life crisis of lots of conversations that usually went something like this…
Me: I don’t know what I want to do with my life!
You: What do you love to do?
Me: I don’t even know! How are you supposed to know?!
…I learned that what I love to do is exercise (specifically triathlons) and write. This is my new pursuit.
My second profound conclusion is that I don’t need to be enough, I just need to be happy.
Perhaps my least favorite line in this confusing journey through my twenties is “you are enough, just the way you are!” No. I am not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough. I can always be better, and there is always room for improvement. I have constantly felt the need to prove myself. I need to somehow prove that I am the best teacher, the fastest runner/swimmer/biker, the strongest athlete, the funniest friend. But why? I mean, really, who cares? And in the end, does it even matter? I know that I am not enough, but what I’ve learned is that’s okay.
Especially on the East Coast, I’ve noticed this preppy obsession with nautical striped tops, starfish, sperrys – and definitely anchors and sailboats. It’s these most prevalent anchors and sailboats that get me the most. You see, in your twenties you get thrown off your mother ship and into the raging sea. And let me tell you from experience, that rough ocean (also known as the real world) will toss you around with no regard for who you, where you’ve been, or what you’ve overcome. I’ve decided that there are two ways to safety: you can either find stability in someone to anchor with, or you can set your own sails and ride the winds of life.
And that’s where I’m at right now, the in-between: I’m still looking for my anchor, so rather than be tossed around in the ocean I’m going to set sail for adventure. And just maybe, I’ll reach the shore.