There are some people who go through their daily lives and (at least from the outside) it seems as if they don't even think about the things that I think about - what kind of mark am I going to leave on the world? Who will remember me and why? Am I living authentically - that is, am I living the life that will make my soul happy? I remember thinking this way when I was a little kid and wishing that I could just have a normal brain for a few hours, one in which questions and worries weren't constantly being played like a television that just won't switch off. I understand now that those questions and worries were the seedlings of Generalized Anxiety Disorder with a touch of OCD. Those questions are still constant, like the text scrolling by on the bottom of a television news channel.
I am most anxious when I know I am not living authentically - when the things that I am doing day to day are not setting my soul on fire, when I am just going through the motions. I have a Master's Degree in Elementary Education for a multitude of reasons but one of the big ones is that I thought it was a practical choice. There would always be jobs (albeit not in my home state) and I do love children. It would allow me to make a decent living and have summers off. I would be making a positive mark on the world and have a profession I felt proud to share.
If I could go back and whisper in my own, early twenty-something ear, I would tell myself to stop and think. To let myself imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to follow my passions and not what I thought was practical. To picture what my daily life would be like in a job that yes, I am proud of, but one that doesn't quite fit. It's like a shoe that is my size, but doesn't feel right.
Now, I am $60k in debt to a Master's Degree in a profession that doesn't fit. What do I do? Do I keep on living inauthentically, with my soul shriveling up just a little bit more each day, with my anxiety growing as a symptom of living a life that doesn't quite fit me? With that anxiety is its darker, quieter, and much more menacing partner: depression. Once that bad boy gets ahold of me, anxiety seems like a warm, loving friend.