Have you ever been stuck behind someone in the right lane? You know the car I’m talking about. It’s usually either a clunker or an 18-wheeler just trudging along at like 40mph on the highway, but there you are, right behind it and you can’t get the timing right to just move over. There are people flying up on the left because, go figure, they’re traveling at the speed limit, or there’s a never-ending line of people behind you making their move faster. They’ve got the room to accelerate past you and the schlep causing the problems, and you’re stuck.
But then there are those moments where you’re driving along, but you stay behind the clunker or the truck. You could safely maneuver around, or back off and cruise for a bit, but instead you sit there, agitation and aggression toward the faceless driver in front of you rising with each passing mile marker. You sit there, complain, but do nothing. You make excuses about how they should be going faster, you shouldn’t have to move over, your exit is coming up. Excuses. All excuses.
I’ve gotten myself stuck in the passing lane many times. Sometimes, I really can’t get around the rig in front of me, but other times I can, but I let the fear and anxiety and anger take over. I create the tension instead of backing off. I keep myself stuck.
Anyone else see the metaphor?
I’ve kept myself stuck for a long time. I get super excited about something for a few weeks and I’ll get ready to make my move, but I end up back where I started. And I put myself there. Fear kept me in the passing lane. It’s still keeping me there, but not for much longer. I’m aware of the situation now, so I want to move. I want to let go of the fear of moving and failing. The fear of putting myself out there, being vulnerable, and falling flat on my face.
I say I want to do these things; I’ve said the same thing many times before. But this time feels different. It feels like I’ve turned on my blinker and checked my blind spot. Maybe I’ve grown since the last time, maybe I’m more secure in my relationships and maybe I’m more confident in myself and my abilities. I think all of these things are true, but it took time to get here. It took about 3 years and I’m still not sure where my destination actually is.
Does anyone in their mid-20s know though? Nope. Endless memes, blogs and hashtags will tell you that none of us know what we’re supposed to be doing. But we have to try. We have to try. We have to try.
We listen to everyone and their mother about how we’re millennials and we have no skills or appreciation or common sense or …whatever. We have no confidence in ourselves or our capabilities because everyone tells us we shouldn’t. We should expect the crap jobs and to suffocate under student loan debt and to live with our parents until we’re 30. Expect to get married more than once; expect to screw up. Realize we’ve worked so hard but deserve nothing because we are nothing, not yet.
Stop. Don’t accept that. Say no. Step out on a limb and try. I’m yelling at everyone else as much as I’m yelling at myself here because I can’t live like this. I can’t watch my friends live like this. I can’t think about raising a kid who will feel like this someday. Chase your goals if they scare you. If you know something, don’t hide. Be humble, yes, but own the fact that you earned your place here. Fight for it. And when you’re done fighting for it, start fighting to keep it.
We can’t be afraid to try anymore. We can’t let ourselves sit in the passing lane, cursing the car ahead and not bothering to check if the other lane is clear.
This was my first time blogging in almost a year. I’m afraid to click “Publish.” But I’m going to do it anyway. This blog, “Poise, Purpose and Pinot,” is about me–my life, my experiences and thoughts. I’m a young professional finding my feet. I’m not pretending to be an expert, but I’m damn good at what I do. Watch me. Grow with me. Teach me something.