I just returned from a whirlwind tour of San Antonio. I boarded a plane yesterday at 10:30am, and returned to New Orleans today at 10; there and back in less that 24 hours. I went to witness the wedding of my college best-friend, and sometimes roommate, Crystal Schulze.
There is a certain out of body surrealness that someone my age experiences when all their friends start to get married. Time, usually passing by quietly under the radar of our consciousness, is suddenly a tangible wind whirring through and past you. Seeing people your age, making sweeping life-long commitments to other people; embracing a lifestyle formerly emboddied only by your parents; laughing with a knowing blush as the father of the bride toasts to healthy grandchildren... You become painfully aware of the alarming rate at which your body is hurdeling through its meager 80 years of existence.
The truth is, most of the time I still feel like a child. I still ask myself what I want to be when I grow up. Not in those exact words, but most days I still feel a broad, undefined expance of future laid out before me, full of opportunity and time. Time to figure it out, or more accurate to my disposition: Time for it to fall into my lap.
But weddings, funerals, birthdays, children being born... These milestones - They bring about in me moments of clarity. It's like when you first wake up in the morning, and your mind has to take a minute to sort out real from unreal; dream from reality. You look around your room, remembering the rules of the real world that were suspended in your sleep: gravity, social norms, colors... As you rub your eyes and blink, your mind sifts out dreams and actualities - until you are fully awake and aware to your surroundings.
Watching another 26 year old get married, or buy a house, or find a career instead of just a job... I stop dreaming about my future. I'm suddenly attune to my own life passing me by. Passing me by while I dream about its arrival.
I am not walking towards my destiny. This place I am in right now, this life I have built and the choices I make every day within it - This is grown-up me. This is my life. This is the "future" I imagine. I have already arrived. And in fact, my life - a handful of years clutched in my hands, is already slipping through my fingers. I am a quarter of the way through with my meager allotment of time.
It's time to stop thinking about what I want to do with my life, and start embracing it, as is. I want my head out of the clouds. I want to breathe in reality, and love the way it fills up my lungs.