|I climbed a steep learning curve to operate this.|
I made my summer monstrously busy. When I committed to club Ultimate I committed to working out six days a week. When I committed to shooting professional sports I committed to half of my weekends prepping and shooting on cameras I've never touched before. Freelancing meant converting my weird hours into productive ones. I packed my months with plenty of moments where I felt completely overwhelmed. Why? Because that's how adulthood works.
You know that saying 'Fake it 'til you make it'? I'm finding out the older I get the more true that phrase becomes. Nobody (at least nobody my age) knows what they're doing. It's a comfort and a weight. You can blame failing education systems. You can blame a disillusioned Millennial work force. You can blame even some obscure relativistic post-post-modernist vision of meaning, as in "nobody means anything, nothing is connected, everything happens in a vacuum." Those abstractions don't change the fact that every day I get up and I accept I'll muddle my way through this day, this month, this year until eventually I know what I'm doing.
I never learned how to cope with this existential terror in college. In college I learned about white balancing cameras, color correction, economic-immigration causalities, and how to analyze comic book texts. No, I never learned how to move despite your anxieties, despite your fears, in a classroom. I learned that skill all on my own, in the Amazon.
My first trip visiting a native tribe in the Andean-Amazon felt like a total disaster. I wore my scratched glasses. No one advised me against jeans. Nobody expected the off-the-beaten-path hike after a desperate plea from a village elder, least of all me. Instead of a calm day I found myself trekking through the Amazon with nothing more than the clothes on my back, my wallet, my camera, and a pair of Greek worry beads.
|1 of 2 photos from that trek.|
I remember resting against a palm tree with my new coworker. The exhaustion I felt extended to the part of my brain that translates Spanish. Brain dead, exhausted, and malcontent I broke down. I cried, thinking to myself "How did I end up here?" I prayed. I tried everything I could to calm the dread creeping up on me. I failed. Eventually, through sheer force of will, I got back up and we finished the trek. Long story short it turned into this beautiful experience. I learned to love that story.
Looking back I learned something valuable: No matter how prepared you are, you rarely feel ready. That same crushing worry gnawed at me a few times this summer. I didn't despair. I learned to welcome the challenge knowing I would either fail or triumph. Why? Because it has to end. I haven't ever felt perfectly up to the challenge, but I revel in the fact that by the very nature of time, This Too Shall Pass.
It gives me comfort. It's not the years of training, the hours of education, or the millions of pep talks that help me get over the existential hump. At the end of it all I acknowledge the impermanence of things. Nothing lasts forever. So what if I'm in over my head? Eventually I won't be and then I can say I know what I'm doing.
I summarize this idea constantly: "It'll get done, because it has to."
No one ever gets it perfect. We're gonna make mistakes. It's important to prevent the fear of failure from impeding our efforts at growth. Whether we like it or not everything ends. Wouldn't you prefer to say you tried your best? If adulthood is one prolonged experience of feeling in over your head then what's one more challenge? Ignore the outcomes, enjoy the process. That's the secret to adulthood.
|Meet the DUCs (ducks) - this year's club ultimate frisbee team.|