teal ocean

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the surge of energy brought on by my realizing that I’m no longer truly dedicated to my current occupation. And while that reckoning was relieving in the clarity it brought to find my next step, it inevitably left me feeling lost. Lost, and a bit empty.

The pattern of these rushing climaxes followed by these draining lows isn’t new to me. I was diagnosed with bipolar depression when I was 17. Back then, the cycle of up and down was destructive and terrifying. I learned to control it, and through therapy, I am now able to handle it fairly well without medication. It took years. But it’s a good milestone to remind me of when life starts to feel rough.

I used to proceed with caution regarding all “major life change” eureka moments. Granted, some of them were spontaneous to the point of recklessness. But I’ve grown to know whether these thoughts are erratic delusions or that I’m actually onto something. I wasn’t always been able to stick to the rule “go with your gut.” The last several major moves in my life came from that inner voice telling me something was an abort situation: my college relationship, my first job, and toxic friendships. While I can’t immediately duck out of my current predicament, I have been given a starting point.

All of that being what it is, I can’t logic away the feeling that this just sucks. Like a lot of people transitioning from college to the “real world,” once upon a time, I thought that I’d have life figured out by now. Naturally, I was proven wrong. Despite accepting that fact, I try to have the next move in mind or at least a backup plan. But this feels different, and more terrifying than any bipolar delusion ever was.

I’m entering virgin territory here. Not only do I have a STEM degree, but I also haven’t taken an English or writing class since high school. That being said, I was usually the person that my friends would have draft their professional emails. I edited people’s term papers. I was the only person I knew to ever say “I wish I had written more in college.” I only turned in a grand total of twenty-three pages in my four years there. Needless to say, the signs of what I should have been pursuing instead were there. Reaching that minor epiphany only makes me feel all the more adrift.

At the end of the day, I’m not one to let fear render me immobile. When I’m scared, I make a move. It may be panicked and off the hip, but it gets me somewhere new. If I’m lucky, it’s in the right direction. So while the complete and utterly unknown may lie before me, I know when I traverse this uncertainty I’ll find myself somewhere I’ve never been before. The prospect of that pushes me past trepidation to eagerness.

Most would like to say they’re not afraid of anything. I can’t think of a single person in my life who I’d believe if they told me that. I’m afraid of failure, of embarrassment, of being totally wrong that I have any talent or promise in writing at all. But that’s okay. I always bet on me. I’m the best odds I’ve got. So while the possibility of drowning frightens me, it doesn’t keep me from setting myself adrift. The thrill of what’s out there is all I need to push on.

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