I’ve spent my entire life waiting to become ……
When I was little, I thought I would have it figured out by the time I was 18. I glorified the age of 18. It sounded like such a fun and sophisticated age. When I got there surely I would have finally made it. I would have freedom, a job and a car. I would know what I was doing. I’d be confident and capable and fun and smart. I could make my own rules, move to California, and live life on my own terms. By 18, surely, I would’ve arrived. I would’ve already become.
When that didn’t happen, I’d assume it would occur after I graduated college. I thought I would be ready for the “real” world. I thought I would be prepared. As you guessed it though, a degree did not change my life like I had imagined. So I figured I, that must mean I needed to continue going to school. Surely I had not learned all that I needed to yet. Why were things so hard? Why was I falling short? Shouldn’t things be easy by now?
Then came my quarter life crisis. I had graduated college twice, and had my first daughter. Yet my life was nothing like that paint by number I had imagined up in my head. I resisted turning 25 because to me, 25 symbolized that I was officially an adult. Even though I was now a parent, I wasn’t ready yet. I still wasn’t there. I had yet to become the woman I knew I was meant to be. I was still a work in process, and I felt I had some how fallen behind.
I had this fantasy that somewhere, somehow, the growing and the pain of life part of living would be over and I was going to magically arrive one day. I imagined these milestone moments as the beginning of a new chapter, a fresh start. One where I have an idea about who I am and what I’m here to do. One that is rooted and sturdy and strong and not plagued with self-doubt. One where I’d finally stop flailing and start really living.
It took me awhile, but I finally learned that there is no arrival. There is no ending point. We never really become. Adulthood doesn’t mean things stop getting hard. It doesn’t mean no self-doubt. It doesn’t mean sturdy ground. It means getting up every day and going out there, regardless. It means doing what needs to be done.
Even though I keep learning this lesson again and again, part of me is still waiting for the moment when life stops feeling like a game of dress up. When adulthood no longer feels like pretend. I want the imposter syndrome to go away. Against my better judgment, I’m still waiting to for something to click and the sturdiness to take over.
We’re all desperately trying to navigate this game called life. And I still have days I feel like I can’t act, because I’m not ready. I’m not there yet. I’m waiting for perfect. I’m waiting for someone else to show up, to show me how to do it, to lead with grace and poise that I myself am not yet capable of. I’m waiting for an adult. I’m waiting for someone who’s made it.
But she’s not coming.
She’s not coming because she’s not real. Because no one has made it. Because we’re all flawed and we’re all scared and we’re all wondering whether we’ve got what it takes. We’re all at home looking in the mirror wondering if we can handle the weight of our own hearts.
We’ve all got shit (bucket loads). There is no perfect person. There is no flawless leader here to save us.
It’s just you.
And you know what? I can do it, you can do it, we can do it! We can show up for this. We can be scared and paranoid and neurotic and show up anyway. We can speak encouraging words even if our voice shakes. We can teach even when we are still learning ourselves. We can be imperfect and still inspire. We can show up just as we are.
There is no one else coming. There is no white knight. There is no grand plan. There’s only us. We can do this! A bunch of us suffering from imposter syndrome, wondering if we can make a difference. Wondering if our voice matters. Wondering if it’s worth having the awkward conversations or engaging in the dialogue that seems to go nowhere.
It’s worth it. So worth it! Change has been made by people like you and me all throughout history. There is no perfect hero, there is no perfect person. There’s just a bunch of imperfect people striving to make this world better.
And we’re changing. Don’t you feel it? This process is changing us. We’re standing up straighter. Smiling brighter. We’re taking up more space. We are becoming the person we were always meant to be. Everyday we are becoming more of who we were all along, underneath all this fear and the desire to be perfect.
“The One you are looking for is the One who is looking” -St Francis of Assisi
With a Grateful Heart,