I remember having my first existential crisis right before my 25th birthday. It was bad! I’ve not had one like that since.
My senior year of high school I knew I wanted to be a therapist, an MFT. I had my school picked out. I knew I’d need graduate school to reach my professional goal and how long the entire process would take for licensure. I was on the right track. I’d even applied to start my plans.
I thought I’d marry my college sweetheart after getting my BA, so around 21 or 22. Grad school would follow immediately and I’d have my first child by the time I was 25. I wanted three kids, by the way.
A few weeks before my 25th birthday I was hanging out with some friends from high school planning how we wanted to celebrate. It hit me like a ton of bricks that NONE of my life goals had been met. Not a single one!
There I was about to turn 25 and I was divorcing my 2nd husband, had no children, had just quit a good job and moved back home with my mom. I was at the university I wanted to attend all along, though I still had 2 1/2 years to go. Where had I gone so terribly wrong?!
Depression isn’t the right description…. disappointed? I felt like a failure… I’d let myself down completely. I struggled with this fact for a while. Looking around at my friends, I eventually saw that none of us had reached all of our goals and most of us had shifted goals due to life along the way.
Over the years I’ve experienced a few points where I’ve looked back on my life and wondered why I shifted priorities, how it happened and why I gave up on things which mattered to me. Ultimately I realized I was rolling with what life put in front of me and making choices which made me happy and my life fulfilling with what was happening. Hopes and dreams and goals aren’t all meant to be achieved… they’re more about setting a direction for our lives.
I was in my 30’s when my mom started telling me that eventually we settle into the lives we have, who and what we are and find peace in that. I knew what she was talking about, but I wasn’t there yet. Not by far!!! I was happy with who I was at that time, I just wanted more out of my life in ways which in my late 40’s simply don’t matter!!!