Being Young but Feeling Old

It is so easy to plant big ideas into our heads about what we will do and where we are going to end up in the future, but we often never get a grip on who we are going to be and where we actually do end up. The future can be a very scary concept to grasp.

Photo by Arek Socha

As kids, the first thing we feel obligated to choose is what kind of job we want to have in the future, and there is definitely a lot of room for naivety. Some of us wanted to be doctors while others wanted to be presidents of the land of pillow forts. When we were sipping on our Kool-Aid watching people win the lottery on TV, we thought to ourselves, “I am going to spend it on candy.”

Media via GIPHY

While this is still a very tempting thought, we probably have more mature priorities as young adults today. There is so much more for us to consider, such as how we are going to be doctors and presidents, and if we even really want that in the first place. The pressure is on and innocence is not welcomed by the real world. 

“Pressure pushing down on me. It’s the terror of knowing what the world is about.” —Queen & David Bowie

Your mind turns into a pressure cooker, you are expected to make important life decisions when deep down you know there are many paths that can equally nurture your soul.

Photo by Arek Socha

Suddenly, you have to think in years, not days, when you can already barely handle the decisions you have to make daily, such as what to wear.

Media via GIPHY

I remember when I was a 9-year-old in the United Arab Emirates, voluntarily planning my entire life before me. I was going to graduate with my other two childhood best friends, then attend university in the United Kingdom and become an interior designer. After that, I was going to work and travel for a couple of years before settling down and marrying the love of my life. Not to mention, I was going to have one child before the age of 30. (Note: no parents were consulted in any of the above plans).

Media via GIPHY

I soon realized that is not how life works. I ended up moving to Canada midway through high school, making new best friends and majoring in psychology. Things always come up that change the course of our journey, these things might be out of our control such as a storm erupting, or sometimes we just steer the wheel in another direction. 

That should be okay to do, and it is, but an important cost comes with the wreckage and maintenance. Careers are flexible and can change and what we decide today affects us tomorrow and the following years. On top of that, we are expected to make such decisions before finding a stable footing. Some of us might be going through interpersonal problems, medical conditions, be working at a job, trying to get an education while commuting, volunteering, practicing hobbies and trying to have a social life all at once.

Media via GIPHY

You might reach a point where you feel like you have reached your full capacity, used up all of your battery before even making it to the last step of your plan. The world we live in does not help with easing decision making. Feeling tired and overwhelmed becomes as involuntary as breathing. As we start to make daily decisions as often as we blink, we become even more confused than we were before.