Before jumping into this post, watch this video by the gifted and [morbidly?] intelligent Levni Yilmaz (yes I’m a huge fan) and whether or not you want to read the rest of my post is totally optional:
In Grade 7, I thought life would begin in high school. Courtesy of the idealized high school life pushed onto us by the Media (thanks, Nickelodeon), I imagined myself as one of the cool kids, as the frontwoman of some hot band, with a hot musician/poet/hockey star boyfriend, or just making colourful memories out of crazy shenanigans. Turned out, high school wasn’t much different from elementary. I was way too shy to get involved in anything remotely exciting (except for head-editing the newspaper—good times). So when I crossed the stage to get my diploma, I thought, “Great. Time to get out of this dump. Time to get my life started.”
Turned out university wasn’t such a big event either. I didn’t go through any epiphany, any revelation. I didn’t suddenly stop worrying less and living more. I’m still terrified at disobeying the social constructs thrust upon me since childhood, terrified of speaking to members of the opposite sex, terrified of social situations and bombing my grades and not getting hired and dying old and filled with regret…
I think we as people can’t accept life as one big messy goop. We want it orderly. We want to set milestones, like notches on a number line. We want things to happen in sequence. Get good grades in high school > go to a good post-secondary institution > get a good job > buy a house, get married, get a dog, get a kid > retire, die, have enough money left for your dog and kid.
But things don’t happen linearly. Things happen in loop-de-loops, in cul-de-sacs, in roundabouts, in swirls, corkscrews, and baseball diamonds. People always say look at the big picture, and I think, yeah, look at the big picture: everything that’s happened so far—that’s your life, whether you like it or not. But also look at specific points in time. Try to remember that one night with the perfect campfire crackling as you fell asleep. Or that one morning with the glowing warmth of fresh coffee tingling your nostrils. Or that moment when you got to the top of a hike you thought you wouldn’t survive without you feet falling off.
Life has already begun, but in those moments, life happened.