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I PRed at 5K and I don’t even care because I’m too busy pointlessly worrying about “the future.”


About two years ago back in Atlanta, my AmeriCorps service team was loading the seats into our 15-passenger van after a long day. I was noodling around and fussing over the proper way to get them to click in, figuring there had to be some kind of catch or latch somewhere that would ensure correct positioning.

One of my colleagues, with whom I was constantly at odds (in a friendly way), eventually became fed up with my needless and unhelpful fussing and proceeded to simply hulk-smash the van seats into place, yelling at me, “Not everything comes with a manual. Sometimes you just have to use BRUTE FORCE!”

And, well… he was right.

Sometimes there isn’t an easy or apparent way to go about things so you just have to grit your teeth and clumsily shove your way through.

I guess that means it’s time to set my jaw and pull my sleeves up, because I have to admit that lately, I’ve been struggling.

And somehow, I naively assumed that by now, I’d be past this.

Past the whole unstable-angsty-don’t-know-what-the-heck-I’m-doing-post-college thing.

Past the incapacitating self-doubt and low confidence.

Past this cancerous obsession with the future, which seems to be steadily suffocating and crowding out all other brain activity.

Does it ever go away?

I foolishly hoped that by this point I’d have things at least reasonably figured out, and I totally don’t. Here I am again, stumbling around hoping for something to fall into my lap just because I was a nice kid in high school and worked hard in college and that means I deserve for my life to keep being effortless and easy, right? (Yes, clueless about the way the world works.)

I need to pull myself up out of this funk and it feels as if the only way to do it is to have a plan I’m excited about, and I do not have that.


Running, fortunately, always provides a respite from the constant ache of doubt and uncertainty.

I ran a 5K today in 19:02. It was hilly. The closest person in front of me ran 17-something. It’s a PR, I guess, but who knows if the course was accurate. Felt good and happy during the run, and that’s all I can really ask for.

I feel like I should be more fired up or regretful that I came so close to breaking 19, but my only reaction is, “oh, that’s cool I guess.”  See, I’ve become an even more one-dimensional and boring person than usual because all I can think about is “what’s next! what’s next! i don’t know! ahhh! shoot! i’m not good at anything! i don’t know what i’m doing! life, wtf!” and this relentless and unproductive internal panicking is causing me to slip into a state of complete lassitude about everything else. I have developed an eyelid twitch that is entirely unrelated to lack of sleep, and am probably giving myself an ulcer or something.

Headcase. Total headcase, I tell you.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/13/2012 01:44

    Aw, SK! Paralyzing anxiety sucks. You’re not a headcase, you’re normal, and this sort of thing is so not fun at all 😦 I have a lot of old-cat-lady-type things to say about your situation but I will spare you, because intellectually you already know that (e.g.) life has nothing to do with college; worrying about the future is pointless because you have nearly 0 control over it anyway; you’re actually in a great position because you can do whatever you want, whatever you feel is best for *you*, without being tied down by other commitments; and that if you can manage to shut off the useless internal chatter you’ll know what your gut is telling you to do. (relaxation and breathing exercises ftw! Is there yoga in Juneau?)

    Yeah, that wasn’t really sparing you, was it? Sorry. If it weren’t telenovela-worthy in terms of length and content I would totally share with you all the decisions I made in the last 10 years and what happened as a result…short version: everything is ok. I moved around within the US, got an advanced degree in London, started from scratch in two different completely foreign European countries, ended up completely alone in one of them working in a job that has nothing to do with my advanced degree, am on my second and, for the record, final marriage, and . . . everything is still ok. And it will be for you too, whatever you end up deciding and wherever it takes you.

    Also, you’re so fast.

  2. 05/13/2012 02:30

    A hilly 19:02 is speedy!! I am sorry you are feeling frustrated and in a funk. If your future is uncertain then you had every right to feel like a headcase. We’ve all been headcases at one point or another. Keep using the running as an outlet.

  3. 05/13/2012 03:15

    Ohhh…girl. Let me tell you something that you don’t want to hear. It doesn’t get easier. Especially for those that choose to take a different path. Absolutely everything that has happened in my life has been an accident. I have NEVER had a “5 year plan” and hopefully never will. My life has been too unpredictable to have that type of structure. Hell, I can’t even plan a marathon without needing to have tumors or something removed.

    Life is meant to be lived, not planned.

  4. 05/13/2012 08:18

    Spoiler alert: life sucks. The idiots who have connections and rich parents get what they want, the rest of us just get by. And expectations only lead to disappointment. So just don’t bother. (Because if you expect nothing, you won’t ever have those expectations dashed!)

    The trick to dealing with all of this is accepting that it is what it is without settling for it, something I’ve yet to master. And I’m a lot older than you.

  5. 05/13/2012 08:43

    Relax! You’re cute, educated and you live in America. Nothing bad can happen to you.

    I find going from one shit job to the next is just as good a way of funding my race entries and shoe purchases than having a life plan or any ambition. And gives me more time to drink.

  6. Flo permalink
    05/13/2012 12:58

    Congratulations on the PR, so fast! Hey, it’s normal to feel the way you’re feeling, you’re about to change your life around like crazy, you can’t do that without fear of the unknown. But life has a way of working itself out really well. Especially for nice girls like you.

    In times of change and scary upheaval (and I’ve had more than my share), I just remind myself that with each new life-change, things have always improved, I’ve never been homeless and won’t start now. You just have to trust that things will fall into place. Because they will. Hugs and strength (and some excitement for the good stuff you’re about to see and experience!!!)

  7. 05/14/2012 12:53

    Well, I’m still a headcase and feel like I don’t know what I want to do. Sometimes I just want to abandon ship (as in pick up and go somewhere else and do something different.) But… There are good days too. Good luck SK and congratulations on the 5K!

  8. 05/16/2012 20:59

    Don’t think I’ve ever commented but I love reading about your running, Alaska, etc.

    Anyways, I’m not sure if this is any comfort but if you WEREN’T feeling the way you feel right now, something would be wrong.

    Uncertainty is uncomfortable and your early-mid twenties aren’t supposed to feel like “omg I know exactly what I should be doing”. So trust that things will turn out ok eventually and take comfort in the fact that you care about your future. You clearly have a ton of drive (multiple jobs, living in Alaska, kickass training schedules) and that’s the most important part to determining your own success :).

  9. 05/18/2012 02:50

    What advice can a bloke give? Do what feels right at the time and if that doesn’t work out, try something else. I’m sure you’ll be fine. You have talent for communication, which is a desired skill these days.

    Nice 5k by the way. I wouldn’t worry about the ’02’ — you’ll be into the 18s after the move.

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