Sometimes being an adult sucks.
Especially when on the outside it appears like you got your crap together, but on the inside you're floundering, wishing this life that you seem to find yourself in wasn't yours.
Now, I don't want you guys to worry too much about me.
For the most part, I'm okay. And, it's only sometimes when I start to really think about it and dwell on it that I start feeling like I'm lost in a foreign place that I had never planned to be.
Occasionally this is fun, at least at first, until you no longer find being lost an adventure and start longing to find your way back to somewhere, someone familiar. If you've been lost before, I'm sure you know this feeling and can almost pinpoint the moment that you start to think:
"What if I can never find my way again?"
For me, if I get lost, the thought doesn't creep in till later. At first I'm all confident in my lostness: Clearly I missed that turn a few miles back. Yes, that's what it is. But then I think to myself, what if that wasn't the turn? Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, and it's actually just a little further. Yes, that's it. I'm freaking out for nothing.
So I press on down the same path until I realize that I am so obviously lost it's not even funny. So I make a U-turn and turn where I think I was supposed to, only it doesn't feel right still, and panic starts to set in. And slowly that thought seeps into my mind:
What if I can't get back? What if there's no one that can help me?
What if I'll be alone and lost... forever?
I try to push this thought out of my head. I'm being irrational; it's just fear talking. I'll get out of this and be fine. I'm not alone; I won't be lost forever. But the thought still lingers... in the back of my mind, waiting to worm it's way back into the surface of my thoughts.
Eventually, after a few stops, several U-turns, and a few desperate phone calls (or GPS look ups, if I'm lucky), I do find myself at my intended destination, ready to regale my friends of my misadventure, playing off any slight panic attacks, and never revealing the one thought that I had pushed back down below.
But it's still there. Waiting. Waiting to burrow it's way back up, waiting until it's just visible enough to have someone, anyone, notice. And sometimes, it's not even me that notices first.
Yesterday, I went to a nearby restaurant by myself and ordered dinner to go. It wasn't very crowded: A family nearby the entrance that was finishing their meal, and a few friends in the back. I sat near the entrance at a stool waiting for my order, noticing the family and the surroundings. As I watched the family gather up their things and start to leave, my mind started to wander.
Even now I honestly don't remember what I was thinking about, if I even thought anything at all. I was just staring off into space. But in the periphery I notice someone trying to get my attention. In my daze, it takes a while to realize that it's the cashier telling me that part of my order is ready. I apologize for not hearing him the first time, and instead of saying it's okay or ignoring it, he asks:
"Are you okay?"
"Oh I'm fine. I was just spacing out." I reply, waving it off like it's no big deal. He kind of gives me a quizzical look, like he doesn't really believe me.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asks again with real concern in his voice.
Again I tell him I'm fine that I was just thinking about all the things I had to do when I got home and that I really was okay. He hesitantly handed over my order and told me he understood because he was getting ready to go to college and he hadn't packed anything. I laughed with him and told him I knew how that was. When the other part of my order was ready and I started heading out the door, he called after me:
"I hope you have a good evening!"
"Thanks! Good luck with college!" I called back as the door closed behind me. Any other time/day I would have thought nothing more about the conversation, or I would have thought it was a bit odd and then moved on. But as I made my way back home, I couldn't stop thinking about what he had asked me and the genuine concern in his voice when he did.
Did he see something while I was spacing out? Something that I didn't notice?
Am I okay?
Am I sure?