Here’s a question. Is it possible to be almost thirty and still figuring it out? Better question! Is it possible to be almost thirty and have your life completely out of focus? Best question yet! Is it possible to be almost thirty and suddenly realize that everything you thought you knew about who you were and where your life was going was wrong?
“I guess the good news is my blog has a focus now because my life sure as hell doesn’t.”
-actual statement I made to the Nerdmate
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The truth is I’ve actually been avoiding thinking about this for a long time. I’ve spent most of my life being the girl and then the teenager and then the young woman I was expected to be. I’ve done it for so long that I’ve lost track of myself. I’m not even sure where the expectations end and I begin anymore. None of this is to say that I was forced to pursue a particular path in life. I chose freely every step of the way when it came to deciding to go to law school. But now I’m questioning all that.
Who am I?
It’s like I’m walking around wearing a mask and costume lately. And none of it has been the really cool superhero kind. In fact, I’ve been hiding bits of myself. In college I made deliberate choices to maintain a certain image. I was the good girl. I was the smart girl. I lived at home. I didn’t really have a lot of options. Every choice I made seemed to limit me more.
So there were things I never did. I never got my nose pierced. Though in college I considered it more than once. I wanted to get a little stud or ring in the side. I didn’t get a tattoo. I got henna once in PCB, which definitely freaked my mother out. But no permanent ink. I seriously contemplated it though. I still do from time to time. Something meaningful or nerdy in the right spot. I had always planned to get the upper cartilage of my right ear pierced. But I never got around to it. And my hair remained natural colors instead of black with peekaboo purple or dark red with peekaboo magenta.
Now I’m considering doing many of those things. They were expressions of my creative side. Things I wanted to do but couldn’t out of fear among other things. Now the opportunity has presented itself. I can do them. Pretty soon very little will stand in my way. Pretty soon the only thing holding me back will be fear. Am I ready for that? There will still be consequences. There will still be momentous reactions to every choice I make. It’s not as if I’m walking away from the people who matter to me.
Here I am, 29 (ok I’ll admit it I’ll be 30 in a little over a month), and still trying to figure myself out. I’m learning things I feel like I should already know. And I don’t always like them. Suddenly I find that maybe I’m selfish. Although most of the time I’m reassured by the Nerdmate that what I think is selfishness is really the knowledge that I’m allowed to put myself first. Or I discover that I find I’m perhaps a little callous and heartless. Although that turns out to be a lesson in the fact that I’ve been spending so much time taking care of others that I’m just exhausted. I’m learning to take care of me. I’m learning to matter.
I’m learning other things too. I’m embracing parts of me I have long since put away for fear that they might get me hurt. It’s a long process that has taken a lot of effort. It’s also taking patience on the part of people who love me. I’m learning that I do in fact have a soft side. I’m learning that I can be vulnerable. I’m learning that I don’t have to everything alone anymore. See I’ve got a lot to learn. And I’m scared.
Where is all this going?
I had a plan. I was going to be a lawyer. It quickly became an essential part of my identity. That’s how my family introduced me.
This is Nic my [insert relationship here], she’s going to law school. She’s going to be a lawyer. Ha ha ha, we totally are going to have her on retainer. Aren’t we lucky? She’s going to make so much money.<
Never mind the fact that I had expressed no interest in practicing the kind of law they seemed so fond of joking about using me for. Never mind that I didn’t want to become a lawyer to become wealthy. Never mind the fact that I had started to doubt everything in my plans.
I know how bitter that must sound, but honestly it could be incredibly frustrating. It sometimes felt as if my plans had turned me into a trophy. My future wasn’t mine. It was for the benefit of others. I was obligated to succeed because I needed to live up to something for them. It was unfair. It was crushing me. And I was pretending it wasn’t happening. I think a lot of people in my generation experience that same feeling.It sometimes felt as if my plans had turned me into a trophy. My future wasn’t mine. It was crushing me. Click To Tweet
Now I’m not quite sure where I’m headed. I know that I won’t be happy working in an office forever. Sure, there are lots of people perfectly happy doing just that. But I just don’t see myself as one of them. I’m a creative. I know that much about myself. I may color code my entire life. The Nerdmate says I will be in charge of organizing everything in the future. I have at least three planners, not counting notes on my phone and anything I use at work. But at my very core I am a creative.
I wish I had accepted that earlier. I wish that I had taken more risks. I wish that I had not bent to the pressure of picking an office job. I wish I had not spent so much time worrying about what everyone else would think. I feel as if I have wasted a great deal of time. I hate that. I’m afraid that I have spent too much time on the wrong things. I’m afraid I have missed opportunities. I’m not sure where to go from here.
Wait, didn’t you say the blog has a focus?
I was struggling with what to write as my first post. Chad and I have talked for hours about the blog. I kind of feel bad really. There’ve been a lot of conversations about design and focus, what it would look like and what I would write about.
He’s listened to me whine constantly about how I didn’t think it would be successful and about how I was certain no one would read it. But all the while he’s been nothing but patient and supportive. Even though I’ve been long on fear and very short of focus. And then he asked me what had been on my mind lately other than the blog. Then it hit me!
I know, what happened to carving your own niche? Actually that hasn’t changed at all. While there appears to be more direction, I still don’t think that this blog has a specific niche so to speak. That would imply a much narrower focus. Right now I just know that you can expect a great many posts about ‘how to figure out your place in the world when you discover that you’re a creative just as you’re hitting the big 3-0 while still wanting to become a scientist.’
OK so maybe that was little bit dramatic. And I don’t think it was very accurate either. But this blog will definitely partially be about carving my own niche in the real world and finding out just what I’m supposed to be doing with my life now that I know it’s not what I thought.
I guess that actually means the title makes even more sense. Nerd Candy really is leveling up. She’s finding a place for herself. She’s finally going to step out of the shadows and into her own life. Who knows, maybe I’ll even go out and get the ink I’ve always wanted and have that extra piercing in my ear. It’s not too late, right? I’m still breathing. I still have life left. So I should be able to move forward. Maybe this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I know it sounds cliché, but maybe it’s time.