Last week, at around 1 am, I awoke to a Whatsapp message that read…
“Are you up?”
In the event that you’ve never been on the receiving end of one of an “inquiry” like this one, let me preface this by telling you that it’s actually nothing more than a thinly veiled command that translates directly into, “Call-Me-Right-Now-Or-I-Am-Quite-Literally-Going-To-Have-To-Check-Myself-Into-Bellevue.”
The reason that I can adamantly attest to this is because whenever I’m authoring my own texts of such an anxiety-ridden nature, I usually never even make it to end. In fact, I actually bypass the formality of such written queries altogether – and instead – dial [insert unfortunate soul’s name here] and commence a full-blown, panic stricken spillage of my sorrows/concerns/unanswered philosophical questions concerning all things that have the potentiality of going wrong IN THE UNIVERSE to whoever is kind enough to provide a listening ear at 2 am.
And this, dear reader, is what you call a late night panic attack.
Upon picking up the phone and calling my friend that evening, I realized that like so many of us, most of her concerns were rooted in issues that would more than likely never come to fruition in the first place. What’s more, the things that she considered to be absolutely dire were all intangible – worst case scenarios that were completely outside of her realm of control.
Living in New York for the past two years has proved to be the single best experience of my adult life – that said, it has also coincided with (or propagated) a repertoire of worries regarding “problems” that never formerly crossed my mind.
In talking to my girlfriends, I often hear the same ruminations being vocalized with respect to their long-term concerns – what if the career trajectory that I thought I always wanted to be on turns out to be something that I’m wholly dispassionate about/what if it’s something that’s entirely devoid of the potentiality for any semblance of real growth or financial intake/what if I don’t find a partner within the next like, two decades, who isn’t a flake-narcissist-ax-murderer.
I’ve learned that it’s difficult being a twenty-something living in New York City and wanting to have it all. In architecting the lives for ourselves that we always thought we would — or should – have, things can become Zoloft/Clonnie inducing confusing. Anxiety is a generalized fear of the unknown, and right now, virtually everything is still…well, indefinitely TBD.
That’s the scariest part of being young and independent…the endless stream of questioning — what if it never happens, what if it happens too slowly or too quickly, too faintly or too drastically — but ultimately, it’s also what brings us to life.
Nobody really wants to get the last page of the book first. Each of us wants to have something to strive for. So embrace the unknown; it’s all that we really have.