Imposter Syndrome: I’m Not Who You Think I Am!

Do you ever feel like a kid playing dress up as an adult?

Photo by Bekah Russom on Unsplash

This is imposter syndrome, the idea that you’re not who people think you are, that you’re a fraud, or that you could be “exposed” at any moment.

When I was 7 years old, 21 seemed “grown up” and 30 seemed “old.”

At 16 years old, 30 seemed “grown up” and “put together,” but no longer felt quite so old.

And now that I am 31, I can tell you the truth: I still feel 17 much of the time. I don’t have all my shit together. Most people I know are still figuring everything out as it comes.

I’m at an age where many of my peers have kids, and I can tell you this: your parents didn’t know everything. They BS’ed some answers or said it confidently enough that you believed it. They get help with your ridiculous middle school math homework, and they definitely also are not fans of mandatory science fairs. They agree that life is unfair.

I often feel like I am just playing dress up as an adult and that I will figure out my career and buy a house and have a kid “someday.”

Just like when I was 15 and college felt like “someday” away.

You are not alone. I am not alone.

I know 42-year-olds and 55-year-olds who still aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up and one or two 20-year-olds who already figured out their careers.

The reality is that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual and it doesn’t come with a timeline. You don’t “have” to get married in your twenties. You don’t “have” to pick your lifetime career in college, and you definitely don’t “have” to pick an adult career and stick to it forever.

When I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree at 20 years old, I did not know exactly what came next. I didn’t plan to be anything specific, I didn’t have an immediate career in mind, and I didn’t think I was ready to commit to a Master’s degree at that point (and still haven’t, though I would love to get one).

Life is a constant learning process. What I am and the life I have now was inconceivable to teenage me. It didn’t exist because I didn’t know I would live in New York City or that I would literally achieve a lifelong dream of being an author.

I didn’t even really know freelancing was a viable option.

Trust me, you are not alone. And if you have even an inkling of what you might want to do or be, then you are already ahead of the curve.

I highly encourage you to be open to different opportunities, excited about life, and not locked into a specific plan. Let life happen. Enjoy it! Find what you love and figure out a way to make it a part of you life, as a hobby, a paying career, a collection, anything.

Enjoy your life. Eat ice cream for dinner sometimes, wear silky pajamas, take a mental health day. Be a person you like. Be a person you would want to grab a coffee or a beer with.

Life is too short to wake up hating everything and feeling old.

Despite what the creaks and cracks of my bones say in the morning when I stretch!

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