I do not know how to abandon my fervent search for impressiveness. I want people to look at me and tell me they don’t know how I did something, or better- continually bring up my experiences and successes like I’m some wunderkind for just doing the things I have just been presented with in the course of my life so far.
I want to be extraordinary, and it’s currently making my life hell. I can’t even fathom spending GOD FORBID THREE WHOLE YEARS here in Frankfurt. Here I have my life; I have my partner in life, and I am terrified just to relax for a minute, let alone a few years because I think it’s too “average”. When I left the United States, I chose to move to the most stressful, complicated and rewarding places I have ever been- the West Bank, Palestine.
Palestine is everything that I love, and my busy addicted brain was getting a daily dose of my favourite drugs: constant stimulation and praise from the people I had left behind. When I got stranded in Germany in January of 2015, I was terrified because I traded those things for quiet and unimpressive surroundings. A year later, I am even more scared.
I find myself already desperate to get out of Europe and keep fighting my way to some success, as defined by my high-achieving parents who are my role models in this regard. There are so many things that excite me- the list is long, and I have no idea which ones I should pursue. I get equally excited about public diplomacy, women’s rights, photography, food, marketing and wine. I do not have a calling.
Maybe I just don’t know what it is yet, but at 25, I refuse to let myself believe that it’s OK to opt out of the race to succeed for a few years. I have a fear of being overtaken by my peers, compared to whom I already feel woefully inadequate. I went to high schools that produce incredibly successful global citizens, and in those places, I was attracted to the people who were driven, smart and successful and unsurprisingly, have become very successful in life. My Facebook feed is filled with individuals who are exactly my age whom I wish I could be.
I am filled with envy, and I am terrified of underachieving. I come from a family and a background where I wanted and want for nothing. I have a safety net so why shouldn’t I continually, obsessively, work hard to achieve a specific kind of success?
I would not even consider taking a break from that mindset if I weren’t being forced to see it for what it is. My anxiety has grown into a monster I can no longer control. My life is one huge case of FOMO (fear of missing out), and until I can let go and allow life just to happen for a while, I am afraid I will continue to suffocate under the weight of my expectations for myself.
I do not know how to trust life. I don’t know how to trust that just taking care of myself and not obsessively seeking warmer weather, busier streets and more difficult work will not derail my entire life.
I’m living in a world of high achievers; I hear about the importance of being successful before I have children, so it’s harder to stagnate when I have a family. I hear about going to grad school sooner rather than later, I hear that I need to be working towards a goal with every step I take, but I don’t even know what that goal is right now.
I honestly am not sure how to go about reclining and allowing myself room to grow, heal and find what truly drives and inspires me. All I can do is try.