Lately, I’ve been thinking that right now and 2014 look a lot alike. In both, I’ve graduated a year ago, don’t really know where I’m going, and none of the work I’m doing feels like enough. I’ve worried a lot lately that I’ve lost some part of myself in the past few years. Isn’t that always the fear? That we grow up and our heart dies? If we’re being honest, that’s a huge part of this blog post. In some way, I’m feeling like 2014 Fran has the answer to a 2019 problem. But she doesn’t.
I’ve been thinking, in hindsight of course, that 2014 Fran was so great, a better writer, blah blah blah, but she wasn’t. 2019 Fran is much better. 2019 Fran has an amazing partner, a much better relationship with her family, a relationship with her older brother. She has two web series, multiple short films, a thriving blog, a podcast she loves, a finished book and another one on the way. She has a yoga practice, meditates semi-regularly, has a lot more fun and a lot less existentialism.
Maybe 2014 Fran was a better writer. Maybe she does have something to teach me. But in the meantime, I am 2019 Fran, and I can’t change that. All I can do is continue becoming, take the old parts of myself I would like to continue to cultivate, and move forward.
2019 is not 2014. The light and sound are different here. My life is nowhere near the same. I’m 75% less lost, 200% less alone. Sure, I still have no idea where I’m going. But the solutions then, the attitudes then, they can’t be the same as now, because I am not the same. This is an entirely new scenario. I have new things I’m working on, new things I’m looking forward to. Sure, the existential pain feels the same sometimes, but it isn’t. I have learned so much in the last 5 years that is directing me towards where I really want to be.
This week I made progress toward my dream career. It might involve copy editing or staff writing or groups of creatives at storytelling agencies in Washington state. I don’t know how I’m going to get there yet. A part of me, a very big part of me, wonders (and worries) that if I don’t make it happen now I never will. In truth, the reason my life has sped up so much since my car accident is because I’m operating as though it will be taken from me at any moment. I often feel like I’m living life on borrowed time.
What I don’t want to fail to mention though, is how much less cinematic and romantic it feels to be lost at 23. It’s much more normal to be so at 18. That’s what all the movies are about. When I told Eli this, he said, “Lost is what a 19 or 20 year old in college feels, when they have no idea what they like or what they want to spend their time on. You know what you want to do, you know that the job you want exists. And sure you don’t have it yet, but if you did you’d be set for the next 40 years. You’d be locked in. And you’d hate that.”
Last night, my therapist told me, “Being lost is a sign that you’re growing and changing. If everything was the same, you wouldn’t be lost.” I really don’t know if I’m lost or not. But if I’m not, what the fuck am I? Changing, probably. Growing, definitely. I feel like May was an extreme growth spurt. Awake all night with growing pains, too much moving and simultaneously feeling like you’re going nowhere— growth spurt. In my meditation yesterday, the strongest message I’ve received in a while came through. “You picked presence as your word of the year because you wanted to GROW.” Touché, meditation self. Touché.
I’ve been dreaming of pregnancy most nights lately. According to the internet, it can mean, “an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life is growing or developing.” This week I dreamed that I looked down and noticed with a start that I was pregnant. My belly was larger and squishy, and the second I realized it I was excited. I like the above interpretation, because I wasn’t scared, or figuring out how to navigate this new aspect of myself. I just looked down and realized this new piece of me had been there all along. I realized I was already different, and was excited for this new version of myself to emerge. Maybe I’m having these recurring dreams because my brain needed me to understand that the person I’m becoming is someone new. She’s still growing. She’s squishy and soft and moldable, and that’s okay. I don’t have to be finished yet.