When I was a teenager, I was sensitive. I still am, obviously, but it’s different now. I’m not sensitive to the same things. My coping mechanisms have changed and different, bigger, things break my heart.
In high school, people broke my heart. Boys, or one boy in particular, broke my heart (over and over and over again). My world was little. Itty bitty, really. Harsh words, the wind blowing the wrong way, too much of anything would wreck me. I cried. A lot.
Now, world hunger breaks my heart. People and animals and environments being treated unfairly breaks my heart. Cruelty, of any sort, wrecks me. But I don’t cry anymore. I gave that up. Instead, I fight and change and work harder. I’ve found it’s a lot more effective that spending Sundays in bed crying.
As a teenager, I was fairly invincible. I could eat what I wanted without getting a stomach ache and without gaining a single pound. I could sleep anywhere, without waking up sore. I could ride roller coasters without losing my lunch. I could do all sorts of shit I can’t do now. Now, if I eat too much processed, greasy food, my stomach freaks the fuck out. I can’t ride roller coasters. I have to sleep on a bed, with a pillow, if I want to wake up feeling refreshed. I have allergies. I gain weight if I don’t exercise. My invincibility has waned. It’s faded. Now I have to think before I act.
It’s just different now. Everything, really. I stop and marvel at it sometimes. At the things I’ve done, the things I wanted to do, but haven’t, the things I know I’m going to do, the things I thought I’d accomplish, the friends I thought I’d have. Even just in the past few years – things changed when I hit 25. It was a mile marker I hadn’t made plans for. There weren’t expectations. Somewhere, while lamenting all the things I didn’t get to do before I turned 24, I forgot to plan for 25. So 25, and now 26, and expectation free.
I spent years (and years and years) planning for who I would be when I “grew up.” Now, I’m not even convinced that’s a real thing. I put a lot of thought, in my early 20s, into my life plan but my life went off on another track and I never set the milestones back up after they crumbled.
I wonder if I’m living in the now more than I ever have before. I still plan. A lot. I plan for vacations and for next month and the next BIG THING. But I don’t have a five-year plan. I’m not sure if that’s okay or not. I mean really, what would I put on it? I own a house, have a husband and two dogs. I don’t want kids, so there’s no planning for that. I want to put granite in the kitchen. And I want a canopy bed. I want to graduate from college, but that will come soon, in the next year or so. I want to travel more, of course. I want to make more friends, have more adventures, but in the realm of GREAT BIG THINGS YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO BECAUSE THEY SAID SO, is this it? Have I checked the “necessary” boxes already? There’s always a next, so what comes next?