I feel like the Universe has stopped holding me. When I check in with myself – when I check in with my heart – I no longer hear that strong voice that is at once a part of me and a part of something more than myself. The result is that I no longer feel held. I am 27 years old, and I am wondering if these are late growing pains, and, if they are, can’t I just be grown up yet?
No one tells you that your twenties are hard. No one tells you that in one moment you feel elated in the discovery of yourself, and in the next you’re wondering where you’ve gone, or if you ever really had a hold of yourself at all. They tell you that these years are “the best of your life,” and to not “squander your youth.” I think they really mean for us to not squander our beauty.
There is something invigorating about these years. At their best, they teach us the confidence that we may have lacked in our teens and the humility that we could have used in high school. They reveal to us that there is no one right way of being, and that the space in our teeth need not be closed up. In them we find that you CAN love again, you CAN move through the bad to get to the good, you CAN envision a life divine. There is the safety of moving out of those awkward college years, and there is the comical scape-goating of moving towards 30. So with all of these beautiful gifts filling up our bags, why do so many of us feel so lost? What is in it for us to keep traveling farther and farther down as the tower of our youth begins to crumble?
I think the answer lies somewhere in the fallacy that we are no longer in the beginning – as if we’re towards the end, somewhere far behind where we “should” be. I “should” have my life in order, I “should” have a career already, I “should” be stable. The only “should” truly worth should-ing is “I should simply be loving.” Maybe this lesson comes later. Maybe we are in the middle of our beginning, the evidence of which is that we still have the stubbornness of our youth keeping us from seeing ourselves as what is: a being in progress.
It is true that we are scraping off the remnants of our childhood, but I can’t help wondering whether we’re sloughing off the right parts. It would seem that we’re actively getting rid of our openness, our ability to give freely, our enchantment with the world, our ensouling of every possible thing. I hope I’m wrong about this. What it feels like we’re choosing to keep – the jealousy, the fickleness, the neediness in tantrums – hardly seems progressed at all. At least it doesn’t seem that keeping those qualities in order to get ahead is worth giving up the rest.
Perhaps this is where Faith comes in. Not necessarily Faith in a God, or in a set of rules, but Faith in the understanding that it all comes around again…and again…and again. We are not lost. We are not headed towards the end. I have not been dropped. I have been given the opportunity to look up at my life from below so as to wonder at the stars that make up my-self.
That voice is still there. I just have to invite it back in and see that even down here, I am still part of the sky.