Changing Tides

An image of paper boat adrift on a puddle

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they have to wonder if they’re charting a course that’s right for them. Sometimes it means reevaluating your career, your health, your relationships. Sometimes it means setting your alarm back to wake up five minutes earlier than normal and hoping for the best.

For me, it’s all the above.

I was always an academically successful child with a creative streak. I was going to be a writer, an artist, teacher, lawyer, archeologist, doctor and probably the president on the side. When I started college, I settled for a degree in graphic design and thought I was setting myself up for a future of success. Of course life does not always afford us the opportunity to be massively successful graphic designers, artists, authors, and presidents. Sometimes you get kicked in the teeth with a late diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. Sometimes that diagnosis doesn’t come until you have just barely managed to drag yourself through college, wondering why your parents’ golden child suddenly can’t get out of bed.

Wondering why you were suddenly drowning in mediocrity when you had excelled your whole life.

Then the spiral happens. Your little ship that had been putting along through what had been relatively easy waves of life suddenly finds itself trapped in a whirlpool of what ifs. What if I can never graduate? (I did.) What if I never find the job I want? (I didn’t.) What if can never be the person I always dreamed of being? (Maybe some dreams change.) How can I keep existing in this world when I’m so miserable? (I’m still here.)

It has taken a lot of therapy, the right dose of medicine, and self reflection to get me to the point that my biggest concerns are now where to turn my ship and not a panicked grasping at the wheel, just trying to keep myself from sinking to the bottom of the sea. For that, I’m grateful.

It means looking ahead. It means knowing that I can accomplish the things I dream of accomplishing, even if there are storms on the horizon that fill me with doubt. I am still here, and I am in a world full of yets and cans. To put a sentimental post to rest, I am making a commitment. A commitment to focus on myself and my dreams. Even if I have to use my oars, I will still be here to see it through.