In less than two weeks (on March 16th, to be exact), I'll be turning 19. Almost two decades on this earth.
And I feel like it's this great, looming presence on the metaphorical horizon: waiting, the days counting down, their passage constantly reminding me of how old I'm soon going to be.
I haven't really enjoyed my Birthday in years... Since I was 13 or so, Birthdays reminded me of all the things I hadn't done in that year (all the things I thought would be good to do at X age, that never happened). A time to feel sad about all the things in my life that weren't the way I wanted them to be. Isn't that a horrible way of looking at things?
But last year was different. Last year, I was simply dreading turning 18. Becoming an official "adult", with all of the encumbent expectations of just what being an adult entails.
I think turning 19 is almost worse. At 18, I could get away with being a brand new adult! Now, I've had a whole year to get used to it. It's like solidifying the adult-ness.
And I've really, really been struggling with that. At this point in life, even most unschoolers *expect* me to be working, or in college, or in an apprenticeship... They expect me to be Doing Something. Something more than what I am.
Because I'm not working. I'm not in school. I haven't found someone to apprentice to. I'm still just writing, researching, planning travels to a couple places, on very limited funds...
And when I look around me, it seems EVERYONE my age is doing *more*.
I feel ashamed. Embarassed. Like I'm the slow kid in a nonexistant class, the one that people are looking at with a mix of dissaproval and confusion. She's smart enough, why isn't she doing something with it?
Because the thing is, I don't want to be an "adult", whatever the fuck that means. I finally realized that in one of my recent breakdowns (I very rarely meltdown, normally, but in the last couple of months, I've been making a habit of it.) that all I want to do is to be 15 or 16 again (despite the fact I had no clue who I was at those ages, and wasn't necessarily all that happy), and be able to just *be* without all of the pressure. The expectation that I should be moving on to *more*.
And that realization makes me feel even more embarrassed. I feel like feeling that way makes me immature. I look at others my age, with their jobs and college classes and apprenticeships and world traveling, and wonder what they think of me...
My mother says I've always been very wary of and unhappy with change. I know that to be true. I've always wanted to watch from the sidelines for a while, before I decide whether or not I want to join in.
But haven't I been watching from the sidelong too long now? Don't I have to find something to join into now? I'm turning 19!!
And I do want to make some changes in my life. I'm not as happy as I could be with where I am now. But the changes I want to make aren't necessarily the changes others think I should be making. And I'm no longer sure what the right choices are: which ones I want and which ones others want me to want.
I just feel lost... And stressed. And ashamed.
My mother and sister are supportive, and without them, I would truly be lost. My father is loving, yet with a much more traditional outlook, and he's worried. He thinks unschooling has failed, because I'm not doing any of the things I "should be" doing by my age. He doesn't say it, he quite possibly doesn't even think it, but what I hear is that I've failed. That's not a nice feeling.
So that's where I am right now. What I've been struggling with for too long now. My apologies for the disjointedness, the rambling... It's late. I'm overtired. And life feels really difficult right now...