I spent most of my teenage years and early adulthood thinking that I could get it right. “It” being anything, everything – life as a whole. In my idealized version of myself and the world around me, everything could really be just right, if I just do it right.
It’s not that I didn’t realize that things happen that are out of my control, I knew that. I lost 3 grandparents, 4 classmates (1 being a close friend), watched the Columbine shooting play out on national tv, witnessed 9/11, been mugged, and seen my kindergarten aged cousin diagnosed with cancer all before I got out of high school. I knew about stuff happening. I guess I just considered all of that stuff outliers in a world of order and control. Sure, things would come up sometimes, but I guess I imagined the ability to always be ready, to have my life in order, to never be at fault, to never be caught unaware or unable to cope.
I didn’t know about the domino effect one event could have on a person’s life. I didn’t know about the myriad of daily barriers that would occur once I wasn’t just responsible for taking care of myself. I didn’t know that you don’t always have the resources available to you to handle things the “best” way. I didn’t know how much you just don’t know about the choices you make.
I didn’t know that you can do your best and still look like a failure. I didn’t know that you can burn out just on living. I didn’t know that sometimes you actually do have to choose the lesser of two evils. I didn’t know that sometimes you have to prioritize in a way you don’t like, but need to. I didn’t know that sometimes your kindness and generosity will be sucked out of you by people who not only don’t give back, but also continue to demand more from you. I didn’t know that over time, institutions that shaped you will disappoint you or distance themselves from you.
I didn’t know I’d never really get it right out here. That’s a hard truth, but a good one, when you let it settle into you. And once it’s settled, let it spread over every person you ever look at, knowing that they can’t get it right either. Nobody’s getting it right.
There is no getting it right.
There is more to that, but also, there is just that.
Let that set you free.