Worry, Acceptance, & the In-Between Moments

I’m 27, but upset that I haven’t figured out 30. It’s been this way since… at least since junior high.

One of my best friends wanted to be a chef. She knew that with all her heart. In junior high. As a chronic comparer, her self-assuredness flung me into a state of panic. Why didn’t I know what I wanted to be? Sure, I was good at a lot of things. A little good, anyway. But I had no passion. No calling. This troubled 12-year-old Katy as much as it did 16-year-old Katy, college Katy, and current Katy today.

While I found a major I loved in college, I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do with it. After earning a series of phenomenal paid internships, I worried about getting a full-time, salaried job in a tough market. Once I got a well-paying job for my age straight out of college, I worried about finding a job that was satisfying. A job that let me lean into my strengths and use what I studied in college. Also a job that provided more work-life balance.

I’m in that job now. My favorite job. A job I never want to leave. Yet… I have the same feelings of woe. The same feelings of unpreparedness. The same feelings of anxiety about what I’m doing with my life. What’s next?

The happiest year of my life was 2013. While I hadn’t yet figured out my work life, it was the year I found a non-professional passion. It was also my first year free from an alright, but not really right relationship (and if you think my career worried me… let’s just say my perspective on relationships elicits little more than a “yikes!”). I met people who understood me. People who I could really be friends with long-term. I rebuilt my social life and creative life.

Then it all came crashing down due to health problems. I could no longer pursue the people and hobbies I so loved. And again, I was thrown into a panic. After finally finding the place where I felt comfortable — a cat who finally stops circling a spot on the blanket and happily settles in — my ability to participate in that life crumbled.

It was a slow crumble. My health problems took away from every aspect of my life one piece at a time. And then one day I realized it was almost entirely gone. And I had to adjust.

And now I’m 27 and upset that I don’t understand 30, and I am finally realizing how bad I am at acceptance.

It is a skill or aptitude or quality or mindset… I can’t even define it, but I know that I don’t possess it. Not to the degree someone whose life has thrown her so much change needs to possess it.

But I’m trying, really trying now, to lean into acceptance. To lower my shoulders from my ears. To untie my stomach and unclench my jaw. To mean it when I answer, “Fine,” to someone’s, “How are you?”

The hardest part for me is balancing acceptance of my current situation with my intense desire to fight for my situation to be better.

But right now, I’m at an in-between point with my residence; I’m at an in-between point with my boyfriend; I’m at an in-between point with my health… And I’m finding ways to see joy in these in-between moments instead of wishing they were over.

While I’m so glad to live in a healthier environment, I miss my old mold-ridden apartment, just like I will miss the beautiful tree-house apartment in which I currently reside. At times, I will forget the bass vibrating my living room/dining room/kitchen/bedroom floors, and I will miss the way the air felt and the light looked.

Whatever happens in my relationship, I will miss this time when there’s both hope and despair. Because the despair, while I don’t want to live in a relationship like this forever, the despair brings us together and brings out sincerity that so easily disappears in relationships. And the hope reminds me that I really do believe it can work, which is something that’s never been easy for me to do with a long-term romantic commitment.

With my health… I have finally seen the progress I have been begging, bargaining and crying for for more than three years now. The first time you get to sing or perform comedy after not having been able to for months; the first time you have a long conversation without getting frustrated that it’s so hard for you to be heard or even just get the words out at all… you don’t get those times back, and they’re oh-so-sweet.

I want a steady living situation, and a stable relationship, and a reliable voice… but there are things to be enjoyed in the in-between. And I think that has something to do with acceptance.