The Art of Existing

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It’s been a while. In fact, it’s been almost two years since I’ve felt the burning desire to create something and launch it out into the world.

In the past two years, I have experienced the beauty of a first love and have then felt the agony of a first heartbreak. I have worked tirelessly towards dreams and have then had to accept that some dreams are called dreams for a reason. I’ve had friendships fade and then watched new ones grow. I’ve missed my mom and dad, but have also adored that with each year comes more independence. In the past two years, I’ve completely lost myself and have begun trying to figure out who I am again.

Here I stand on the edge of the rest of my life. I feel like I’m on the edge of the cliff, and that I’m trying to work up the courage to move forward. Some days I feel like just closing my eyes and waiting for the cliff to crumble below me and force me to drop, other days I feel fearless and ready to leap forward into my future.

I thought at this point in my life, senior year, that I would have it all figured out. That I wouldn’t still be the same dreamer I was as a child. That I would be practical, ambitious, and ready to lead my own life.

Is it ok to be 21 and still trying to figure out who you are? Is it ok to finally be and have everything you’ve ever wanted and then wonder if it’s really what you want? Can you be fearless and terrified at the same time?

The other day I found something that I wrote when I was about 16. “I have decided that our world is obsessed with successful specifics. We chase after successful marriages, successful careers, or even successful children. We devote our entire lives to these successful specifics, instead of chasing after a successful existence. I want a successful existence, and I see my successful existence in the stories I tell, and the words I love. I see my successful existence in being everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I see my successful existence in telling my grandchildren, if I ever have any, about the different poems I pinned onto trees in every foreign city I called home- even if it was only home for a day. I see a successful existence in purely that- existing successfully.” I was surprised how the younger version of myself understood what I’ve been wrestling with so deeply these last few months.

I’ve been struggling to blend my dream of “pinning poems onto trees in foreign cities”, with the practicality of supporting myself with a reliable career and my desire to eventually start a family.

I’m a giant bundle of contradictions, and I have no clue if I’ll end up in a corporate PR firm in South Carolina or working at an orphanage in the middle of a jungle in South America. I don’t know if I’ll go off to Europe or live in the same town as my parents. I don’t know if I want to fall in love young, or if I want to experience the freedom of living alone.

I don’t know what’s next or exactly what I want, and I’m ok with that. I know that I have gifts and talents and that I want to impact the world- I just don’t know where I can best impact it yet. I don’t want to plan my successful specifics and miss out on living a successful existence.

So, that’s me. A 21-year-old who wants to both dream and live practically. Someone who’s just trying figure out where she fits in this world. A storyteller who’s trying to master the art of existing.

Growing up is so full of unknowns, but writing has always helped me understand my emotions, desires, or dreams a little bit better so I’ll be documenting my journey as I try to figure out who I am and where I fit in this world. Maybe you don’t know what you want either and we can feel a little less alone as we try to figure out what our successful existences are together. I may not know what I want, but I do know that nobody likes feeling alone- so maybe this helps you feel a little more understood and a little more seen.

Because, no matter what anyone tells you, it is ok to be 21 and still trying to figure out who you are.


2 thoughts on “The Art of Existing

  1. I love your writing. Welcome back!

    At 68 I am still wrestling with those questions, Victoria. I continually watch for new scary challenges and yes, I love showing my grandchildren how to dream big.


  2. ” it is ok to be 21 and still trying to figure out who you are.”
    It is, indeed. So many young people think they know it all – not just who they are, but where everyone else is going wrong!

    I am so glad you have come back. I really enjoy your writing. It’s not many 21-year-olds who would have the humility, or the honesty, to admit that he or she is still trying to figure out their place in the world.


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