I sat in a shitty diner for four hours on this, a Monday night, with two of my best friends discussing how miserable we are.

And perhaps it’s arrogant of me to say so, but it didn’t feel like the typical bemoaning from a couple of 22 year olds. Instead there was a profound and insidious sense of melancholy that tsunamied over the chicken fingers and fries at our corner booth. From the cancer to the brain damage to the deep dissatisfaction with work and academics, the issues are serious and the misery is palpable. And I left the diner a little after 10 pm thinking to myself, “how did we all get here?” The three of us are very bright, very capable, have enjoyed relatively ample privilege. We are college educated, all thinking about Master’s degrees and how to stretch our academic applications and pursuits. Our families are broken but we are still loved and supported. So how are we here?

I don’t have the answer. Sometimes I lay in bed analyzing the past six years attempting to pinpoint the specific decisions that brought us all to this point. But to chart my choices is to surrender to the fact that I put myself here; I made myself this miserable. There is certainly something romantic about the concept of destiny and pre-determined paths. It’s easy to hide behind the trite notion that everything happens for a reason and that “something bigger” has a plan for us all. But I don’t see that belief as a coping mechanism, I see it as a cowardly justification. Many things are out of our hands, like health and family circumstances. But the things over which you lack control are not mere poetic stepping stones on your path to happiness. They are the sidewalks that run parallel to whatever turns you choose to make on the road of your life. I understand this is a terrible analogy. Too bad… The things out of your control exist on the same plane as the things within your control and they all lead you to your current state of being.

Now, I am here and I hate it. I said to my friends that I try to find solace in the fact that we are all 22 and in 3 years we will be 25. That is still very young, but it is still very far from where we are today. Things will change so drastically in those three years (I hope), either for better or for worse. Either way, we will not be right where we are today; we will not be stagnant. And even though that’s clouded in uncertainty regarding which way the scales will tip, to be good or to be bad, it will be movement; it will be different than today, and I guess I can live with that.

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