There’s a quicksand made of routine and self-doubt that pulls at the eyes of many adults I pass, every day, on the D train, on the A train. I’m fortunate enough to work in an office where virtually everyone dreamt of making it there, and are working their tails off to make something of their moment. But for far too many, adulthood isn’t so gracious.
Is that bad luck or a lacking?
There’s a food coma made of disappointment and shouldas that has so many grown ups’ eyes glazed over. People get a lot of good-enough out here, plenty of okay-I-guess to pick through. The chase for incredible seems funny to some people. Cute, even, when you’re my age.
Is that deafening reality or defeat?
There’s a muffled yell made of that look in a dog’s face, when it runs like mad towards a cat but is yanked into submission within a few feet of its target. It feels like what everything sounds like when you’re underwater. It looks like what so many people look like on uptown trains home.
Is that sacrifice, or is it surrender?
Call it naivete, but I’m of the school of thought that every single human being in existence is the most important human being in existence. To me, everyone is fascinating. You’re interesting, delightful, complex, and you do some things that no one in the world can do quite like you. That’s just a fact. How could someone ever let self-worth like that get past them? How do people crawl backwards into a place where you feel unworthy of the sun?
Some people take total control of the light inside of them and sprint around the universe with seemingly unlimited potential. I believe that we all felt this, at some point. I know we did.
But some people cry quietly underwater.
And these days, I wonder if it’s in these years, between the seemingly irrepressible glow of your adolescence and the “crushing reality” of the “real world,” that a misstep could mean the difference between taking off into the sun or crashing into the deep blue.
I just don’t ever want to be that girl on the D that’s gone so far deep into her headphones and herself that she can’t look around and be fascinated.
That she can’t look up and feel like anything is still possible.
No joke, you guys.
The real world can be rough and ugly, and I found out that it’s because it’s run by hoards of people submerged in rough and ugly waters. Us whippersnappers, we smack of tanned skin, sun-sleepiness, dry eyes. As we scramble offshore, we’re moving targets. Nautical… n00bz.
But from the beginning, I made a vow to myself that I don’t intend to break, no matter how cute you think it is. I’m not trying to be cute. I’m trying to turn out better than the depressing example so many adults have set.
So, I will stay naive.
I will love people.
I will wish and hope and look for the best in everyone.
And I will always be optimistic that I’ll freaking figure it out.
Doing the opposite doesn’t seem to have worked for all those desperately treading water.
And hadn’t Einstein warned us that expecting different results out of the same approach is insanity?
Here’s to growing up, and to walking on water.