I Can’t Wait

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When I was 15, I couldn’t wait to drive.

My learner’s permit was right around the corner and as soon as I could apply, I did. Driving to me meant freedom. I could do anything, and I wanted that immediately. 

The day I turned 16 I had my parents drive me to the DMV and get my license. I passed on the first try and drove us home. I remember day dreaming about the upcoming weekend. I couldn’t wait to drive my friends around; doing the same aimless stuff teenagers always do.

Soon my plans of driving my friends to Steak n’ Shake turned into running my little sister to ballet or karate. Taking my grandpa to see his friends on Saturday morning. Picking up my mom from the train when she needed it. My freedom turned into a chore. So I kept dreaming, and I told myself once I turned 18 I’d be able to really do whatever I wanted.

So I waited and waited and planned on what I would do once I became an adult. I’m sure I screamed (more than once) at my family, “just wait until I’m out of here!” 

I wasn’t trying to be malicious, I just couldn’t wait until I was on my own. I loved the idea of moving through the world independently, completely of my own agenda. 

What’s funny is, once I turned 18 and shipped off to college, I quickly realized being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ll never forget my first time grocery shopping for myself. I was in the Dominick’s on the corner of Fullerton and Halstead in the bread aisle. I was just staring at the rows and rows of bread. Who knew there were so many options? Bread had always just appeared in my pantry and I never questioned whether I liked it or not. At that moment, I realized this was one small “adult” choice and I was going to have to make a million more. 

At that moment I thought, I can’t wait until I have a full time job and I can buy whatever I want. 

I always thought this was the pattern of growing up. As you get older you outgrow your parents, your familial home, and you get out on your own. Once you are out on your own – you’re good! You’re done! There’s no more I just can’t wait until… because what is the next stage you’re looking for? More freedom? Turning 30? I felt that once you were an adult, there was nothing else to “age into”. Your years stop being milestones for major events like a license, a pack of cigarettes, voters rights.

But as I slide into my late 20s I realize that I’m still aging into things. I just don’t consciously acknowledge that’s what I’m doing. 

My focus has shifted from “what can I do next year?” to “what is my next step in life?” I look back on my career and I remember all the times I thought I can’t wait until I make more money, I can’t wait until I have more responsibility, I can’t wait until I’m promoted, I can’t wait until…

Even in my personal life, I couldn’t wait to get engaged, and then get married. I can’t wait until we have a baby. I just can’t wait.

But the funny thing about it is, sometimes you have to. 

For me it is really, really, really hard. 

I’m like a 16 year old who wants to drive. A 17 year old senior waiting on her last day of school. A 20 year old looking for her first job. 

I can’t wait.

So I struggle. I struggle with realizing that my life doesn’t have to be on a strict timeline. I’ve written about this before because it is such an emotional mountain to climb. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay to take a breath and enjoy where I’m currently at in life. I don’t need to rush into the next chapter of my life, because I’ve learned from past experiences that there’s always “a next thing” to strive for. What would I tell my younger self if I knew what I know now?  

I would go back to my 16 year old self and say, “you have your whole life to drive! You’ll have to drive for your job at one point! Driving will become such a chore that you will weigh the benefits of going somewhere based on how far it is!” But I know my young self wouldn’t listen.

I would go back to my 17 year old self and say, “you’ll have four more years of school! What’s the rush to leave? I know senior year is tough but cherish this time and these memories because you will never get it back!” But I know my young self wouldn’t listen.

I would go back to my 20 year old self and say, “stop worrying!! You’ll network and you’ll get a great job where you meet some of the best coworkers who teach you new things about life and the world around you. Your career will take the path it’s meant to take!” But I know my young self wouldn’t listen.

So now that I’m feeling this life induced senioritis I try to listen to the advice of my friends and family who have been through this stage before. I try to listen to my inner self, because I have been through this stage before.

I know the right solution is to dig deep and acknowledge what brings me peace. 

For some people, taking action may bring you peace.

For me, I have to unchain myself from my own expectations. Allowing myself to simply live life with no concrete plan relieves my anxiety. Not only that, I recognize I have to stop worrying about what everyone else around me is doing. I can get caught up in other people’s timelines, and how that affects me.

I’ve found the only way to stop worrying about everyone else is to put yourself on the path you want to be on, have faith it’s the right thing for you, and then put one foot in front of the other. 

I look back on every experience I’ve had and I realize I’m like a new driver speeding to a red light. I’m on the road, I’m going to get where I need to be, but I’m burning rubber and gas for no reason. Maybe I’m trying to impress the cars around me. Maybe I’m anxious to get to my destination. 

Whatever it is, I need to remember to slow down and enjoy the ride. 

About Meghann

I’m just like you. My life can be hectic and cooking, cleaning and getting that workout in are sometimes the last thing on my mind. But, I’m here to share my tips and tricks on how to make adulting a little more enjoyable.

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