Over the past half hour, I’ve come to the stark realization that I am in control of my life. Not in a preachy, self-helpish sense; in a way that’s deeper than that. It’s like I’m two years old and I’ve only just discovered that I can control the thing in the mirror. But I’m seventeen now. Surely, I must have some idea of what I want to study, or what I see myself doing in the future, kind-looking relatives with their expectant looks needle at me, attempting to wheedle out an acceptable response.
I grapple for a sense of closure, trying to search for a sign to tell me what I should do. Yes, I admit, decision-making has never been my forte and the fact that I am fully in control scares me. But I know I couldn’t possibly let someone else call the shots for me because what if it doesn’t pan out the way they planned, and I’m unhappy? Or worse still, if it does and I’m unhappy. But what if I make the decision and when it all comes down to it, I’m unhappy?
At seventeen, I am still grappling with the different identities that coexist within me, trying to formulate my opinions and only just beginning to come to terms with being an actual adult-esque living, breathing human. How am I expected to know who I’d like to be for the rest of my life? I am one way with my teachers, another way with my parents, and yet another way with my friends. In the midst of all this continuous internal chatter, switching between the different personas I have to maintain - I am paralyzed, a helpless spectator to the goings on around me, made to feel even worse with looming deadlines that promise to determine my future when I’m not even sure of my present. How could I possibly decide what I want to do when I don’t even know who I am yet?
If you, reader, are unfortunate enough to find yourself wedged in a situation like this, fear not; I will not give you advice like “Follow your heart, or be a doctor.” Let’s let the blind lead the blind for a moment. (And by that I mean let me lead you, if you are in the same sticky situation as I am). These are the things that I’ve learnt through the writing of these words, and living the past six months.
Empower yourself. What do you like to do? What do you see yourself doing in the near future if you can’t see into the far future? Chances are, you’ll excel at what you enjoy doing, and what you choose to do. When you excel at something, you’ll enjoy it. Don’t be threatened by the different versions of yourself. Believe in your gut, and commit fully to what you choose. I know this is all easier said than done, and on more than one occasion, all the uncertainty threatening my anxiety prone self before breakfast has sent me straight into an existential crisis, but there’s not much else to be said, except don’t worry. It doesn’t help. I’ve tried. You’ve got time, and you’ll figure it out. You may think this is useless advice, as far as advice often goes and to this, I can only say time will tell. My ramblings mean only to reassure, to confess, and ultimately, to make you feel better knowing that you’re not alone. Other people feel this way too.