Getting older is a strange, strange sequence of events. I think that in order to remain positive, there's a lot that you must unlearn. Becoming cold and jaded simply cannot be an option but vulnerability is so difficult when we've been beaten down so many times. Letting a career become your identity is toxic but you've worked so hard to get to where you are. Fighting for relationships that are inhibiting personal growth is an unnecessary, daunting task but what if you're not ready to say goodbye? We've been taught to cling to what makes us feel comfortable but what is comfort if not the single most destructive thing that can happen to you in life, in love, or otherwise? It's more than scary. It's terrifying. Perhaps the worst of it all is that moment when you realize that you have very little, if any, whimsical childlike faith left. You feel as if you've disappointed younger versions of yourself for letting life happen instead of making life happen for yourself.
Though I am still figuring it all out, here is my advice to you: The refining process is immensely painful. Those incredibly dear to you will begin to fade and you'll resent them for it. They'll grow jealous of you and you'll be envious of them. Nothing is quite black and white and indifference is usually the path of least resistance. There will come a point where you will catch a glance of yourself in some reflective surface and not know the pair of eyes staring back. You will be tired and, at times, anxiety will overtake you. Look at your life though. Is it all you imagined it to be? More than likely it won't even be close. Realize that perception is relative though and nobody has the power to put you where you want to be but yourself and yourself alone. Realize that there is peace in uncertainty when you realize that you're writing your own story. Take a look at some historical figures who were able to lift themselves out of deeper adversity than you could ever imagine and realize that fear and unwillingness is the only thing holding you back. Forget about the naysayers and the ones who will try to spread doubt. Don't simply coast on your former accomplishments. Start fresh every day. Realize that complacency is the antithesis or progress and that goals were meant to be surpassed. There is no shame in having some sort of childlike wonder. Forget what science has taught you and imagine the stars as you would like to imagine them. Wear mismatched socks. Jump in puddles. Keep your chin up and you will be just fine.
*photos by Danielle Conyers