In Flux

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Photo courtesy of Bruno Cordioli / flickr.

 

I am beginning to believe
That we only get better at being alone over time.
That we only master the art of tucking ourselves in,
sleeping beside empty sheets,
face turned to the wall
after we realize no one else it going to do it if we ask.

I am beginning to believe that
At a certain point
We all became so used to keeping
Our hands, feet, and hearts to ourselves
That we forgot how to share them
Enthusiastically
Nothing withheld, nothing left.
We know too well that it is good to keep
Part of yourself in reserve
So that starting over is simpler.
Because you will be starting over alone.

I am beginning to believe that
They taught us all to make friends in kindergarten
But never told us how few friends most adults have.
Taught us to exchange valentines
But never told us how often
Lovers break others hearts.

I am beginning to believe
That it takes two to three years of living
In the same place
To begin to build real community,
To begin to feel comfortable in your own skin
To reach out to just enough people
So you feel someone else has
genuine interest in how
You get up each morning:
slow sunshine though your cracked curtain
big red snooze button on the left hand side
a candid teakettle whistle,
and the feel of dry feet on plastic hardwood floor.

And I know so many young people
Whose lives are in flux.
What their teachers and parents taught them
Doesn’t match up with the real world
All of us encountering adulthood,
Some awkwardly, some silently, some dragging their feet
Or kicking and screaming
We meet our futures without realizing
Just how or when they were decided?
And who was the decision-maker?
We get up each day hoping good things will fall into our laps
Because they told us good things were coming
And that seems about as logical a place
For them to land as any other.

So many young people
Forcing themselves to fit into one-page resumes.
Building a library of business cards
That might as well be blank.
Sending off a million electronic applications
That will never warrant a response.
Regretting college loans they paid
For the right to play in a loosing game.
Wishing that someone, anyone
Could point to what part of their short past
Was a mistake.

We keep searching for that golden ticket
That first kiss that feels like a YouTube sensation
First work position that is not only stimulating
But comes with actual compensation.
Something or someone that will take both
Our passions and frustrations
And transform them.
And when we don’t find them,
We move on – another city, another apartment,
another lover.  Stripping supposed failure,
we go skinny-dipping.
Hoping this time, this time it will be different.

And when it isn’t?  We turn the music up real loud
On our life-canceling out headphones,
And wonder when our laps will
Finally fill up with all those good things.


Alana wrote this article for Flux, an online forum for those of us encountering adulthood. She is a young twenty-something who is anxiously looking forward to life after school.  She dearly loves family even though she is rarely home, and she really enjoys learning different languages.

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