Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Lately, I always have the sneaking suspicion that I'm forgetting something, like I left my ID at the bus stop or my contact case on a sidewalk somewhere or my whole identity in the trashcan where I threw my morning coffee away. It's certainly a symptom of rushing, of running from one place to the next, of living out of a backpack, of forgoing a couple hours of sleep and hoping for the best. It's also, as I've found, just part of being 20 and having no idea what comes next. I learned today that the adolescent brain doesn't finish developing until 25, so maybe I'm just forgetting useless shit I've picked up over the last twenty years. They say, "Your twenties are for finding yourself" and "No one else knows what they're doing either." But no one ever tells you how scary, how unsettling the finding can be.

I've realized that the thing I've lost, the forgotten item in my bag, is my plan. Y'know, like what I'm going to do with the next X number of years (just throw a number out there--I will have no idea no matter what you say). I have no plan that goes further than one semester tops. And this is why I'm constantly digging through my purse, my backpack, my bra, etc. yelling, "WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU GO?" Because I want to know, plan, where the fuck did you go? So now, after the approximately eighty third mental breakdown I've had over the rest of my life, I have a list that I consult. This is called the mental breakdown list, the finding yourself list, the default bad-day list, the I have no idea what you're supposed to do either list. It's called the being 20 list and I started it shortly after I wrote this very depressing haiku (I know it's not a real haiku, it's just a tiny poem, leave me alone): 

Being 20

It is the first realization that
No, maybe everything won’t be okay,
The first chill down your spine from
Something that isn’t fingertips.

So now that you have a rough sketch of how sad I get when I'm in the future dark and you haven't run away from this, I'm assuming that you too are in the future dark or that you are a sadist. Either way, here is my list; this is how I fill the void that my missing plan has left.

A List for Mental Breakdowns/Bad Days/20 Somethings/Lost Plans

1. Breathe

2. "don't seek, don't search, don't ask, don't knock, don't demand--relax. if you relax, it comes. if you relax, it is there. if you relax, you start vibrating with it." -0sho

3. What can you do today that helps you feel better?
-Sometimes the answer to this is just homework/some of my reading, but doing my homework and my reading always makes me feel better, stronger, and smarter.
-Sometimes the answer to this is just researching career/grad school/fellowship options that I would like to do one day.
-Sometimes the answer to this is working out.
-Sometimes the answer to this is writing.
-Sometimes I can't find the answer, I can't figure out what will make me feel better about the future, so I try to remember that the present is what matters, because it is all I have right now.

4. Call your mom.
-She probably knows you better than you know yourself, and she was once a twenty something with no idea what she would do next with her life, too.

5. Recognize happy moments
-I often find myself smiling for no good reason, because I'm just happy. This is special and important because it is a significant reminder that having a plan is not the key to happiness. I write these moments down or write something in these moments or write to someone in these moments, it immortalizes the happy. There are too many goddamn epic tragedies, there should be more immortalized happy moments.

6. Do high kicks for yourself.
-Guess what? Everyone else is just as wrapped up in their own shit as you are. Sometimes the down ass bitch you're looking for is you. So celebrate your wins, write yourself a love note, and for god's sake, stop beating yourself up.

7. Do high kicks for your ride or dies.
-Ride or die: (as told by Urban Dictionary) the people in your life who are there through thick n thin. they'll do what it do to make it through with you. the ones that'll stick it through till the end
-so when you read that, you definitely thought of some people, right?
-When I think of ride or dies, I think of my boyfriend, my best friends, I think of my family, in every sense of the word. It doesn't matter who your ride or dies are or how long they've been around, what matters is, they love you like no other. They've seen you at your lowest, your highest, and every stage in between, and they think you're awesome.
-So do high kicks for them! Celebrate their victories, pick them up when they're down, make sacrifices for them, hold their hand, wipe their tears, be a ride or die to your ride or dies. Remember that they are struggling in one way or another too. Every day, spend time thinking of how you could brighten their day.

8. Do stupid things.
-Be careful, obviously because "the decisions you make now affect the rest of your life," I didn't say that, some rational fun sucker did but still, it can be kind of true.
-But make mistakes, screw up, do the thing that you're scared to, have one night stands, skip a class to dance around in your underwear and drink wine, and don't regret it.
-I have packed an impressive amount of regrettable things into twenty years, but guess what? I love them, they defined me way more than the A+'s did. They gave me life experience, scars, and knowledge. I don't want to just be someone who did awesome in all her classes and got awesome scholarships and opportunities, because they are a dime a dozen now a days. I want to be her with a twist.

9. Leave surprises for yourself.
-Forgotten chocolate in your backpack or a post it note that says "you are a magic fairy princess" (or whatever makes your heart sing) can change the course of a lifetime (I believe this).

10. Change your standards for good days.
-When I was 17, I thought that a 'good day' was a day where everything went perfectly and I bounced my rosy cheeks into bed with a smile.
-Now, I usually base the phrase 'good day' off of whether or not I have had enough coffee :)

11. Don't feel guilty for drowning in happy
-Or as Charles Bukowski said, "Find what you love and let it kill you. "
*My boyfriend, olives, giggling with my mooncats, my mini magic family, and writing. Oh and cats.*
-The things that make your heart sing needn't make you feel guilty, they are your special things, you deserve the happiness they give you :)

12. Let go
-Regardless of what you believe in, I think we've all figured out that we don't control the universe.
-It is random and catastrophic and purposeful and exquisite depending on the angle.
-Embrace the unpredictability. Embrace the chaos. Make it into a pair of earrings and wear it when you're feeling out of control. 
-So...let go of the plan, the path, the bulleted list you wish would make itself known. Maybe it will come and maybe it won't. Maybe it will be a lot of trying and failing until something works. Maybe on round 1, you'll get it right. Maybe you never will get it right, but right is just a social construct so fuck it anyway. 
-Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. 
-Make yourself proud; your ten year old self, your sixteen year old self, your now self, and your future self. Maybe not all at the same time. Also, remember when you were ten, you were a member of DARE, so don't take that super seriously. 
-And remember, always remember, that you are never alone and you never have been. No matter how heavily the walls are caving in on you from all sides, no matter how convinced you are that you'll never figure it out, remember, we are here too, and we get it. We totally fucking get it. 

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