I was writing in my journal a little over two years ago, and I was feeling completely overwhelmed. I was knee deep in my quarter life crisis. I had just finished Grad School and had no clue what the hell I was doing with my life. I thought I had a plan, and then I realized I totally didn’t. I was freaking the fuck out.
I sat down and the first sentence I wrote after I had written the date was “There are not enough lifeboats.”
That one sentence perfectly described the anxiety I was feeling. I felt like I was the captain on a sinking ship, that I was responsible for making sure everyone got off of the sinking ship and to safety, and that there just were not enough lifeboats for everyone. (I might have been thinking about James Cameron’s Titanic when I sat down to write, because I think about Titanic a lot.) Really though, when you think your life is falling apart, it’s a great way to describe the anxiety you’re having.
If you’ve ever met me you know I talk in an extremely quick cadence…if you haven’t met me, imagine a squirrel hyped up on cocaine saying all of the following without taking a breath; I finished school and now I have more debt, I have a great job but it isn’t my dream job, I don’t know how to get to my dream job, I don’t know if my dream job will help me get out of debt or put me into more debt, I just turned 25 and that seems so old to me, I’m not married yet, I probably won’t be married for a really long time because I just went through a shitty ass break up and I hate everyone and everything, what’s the meaning of life, I just want to be content and fulfilled and warm at night, cats, internet, maintain friendships, take your vitamins, did you pay the bills or just imagine you did, maybe I should get a haircut, No but I should revamp my wardrobe, What have I been doing with my life, Oh yeah I just finished Grad School while holding down a full-time job, I finished school and now I have more debt…and then they just repeated over and over again.
I didn’t have enough lifeboats for all of those thoughts. Talking with both my mom and my therapist made me realize, not everything deserves a fucking lifeboat. Leave some of that shit on the sinking fucking boat, and move the fuck on. I couldn’t do anything about getting older, except die, and since that wasn’t part of the plan, it doesn’t get a life boat. I had a six month grace period on my student debt, so that didn’t get a boat. My marital status? No boat. Healing after my break up, that got a boat. The meaning of life? Nope. No boat. Feeling fulfilled and content and being warm at night? That got a boat. Getting a haircut and revamping my wardrobe? Those were both manageable, and would make me feel better, they got a boat. I think you’re getting the point, here. Some things just don’t get a boat. And that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you have let the whole boat sink, start swimming, and figure out the rest later. I think that’s what most people refer to as rock bottom. The point is, my freaking out doesn’t mean I magically get more resources to handle all of the problems. It doesn’t work that way. You handle the shit you can, and the rest is the rest.
I also learned, that sometimes your lifeboat doesn’t look like a lifeboat. My mom and I love to joke about the “God Will Save Me” story. I’m sure most people have heard that. http://epistle.us/inspiration/godwillsaveme.html “And God said, ‘Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?’ “We were joking about it one day and I said, “I’ll take the boat, the catamaran, the pontoon, the sloop, the bicycle, the penny farthing…” we were both laughing too hard for me to keep naming vehicles. Sometimes I get so caught up in looking for a lifeboat that I’m freaking out and not realizing I have resources to help me, they just aren’t lifeboats. I am getting better at asking for, accepting, and recognizing help.
I don’t wanna act like I have this shit all figured out, I don’t. Today, I feel like there are enough lifeboats. So today, I’m writing because maybe someone out there needs to read this. Maybe it’ll be me, tomorrow morning, who needs it.
Eyes towards the horizon,