Freedom Pains

My mom has this little sticky note on her computer that says something like, “if you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.”

I looked at it when I would be on my breaks at home, while I was surrounded by my usual childhood comforts and it seemed like a nice sentiment. Be dynamic and don’t get weighed down by change.

It seemed reasonable when everything felt in order. When everything seemed predictable. But now, when I’m out on my own and living free and for myself, it’s difficult to think of this as nice sentiment. Instead it feels downright impossible.

I talk with friends my age all around the world. Friends in Morocco, Sweden, middle-of-nowhere Mississippi and right here in Israel; the issue is global. Change is so constant and relentless that my cohorts and I feel completely weighed down. 

Yes, we are “free” by most means. Our lives are our own and our choices are made based on our sole benefit. These years of independence, sans husbands, kids or high-powered jobs are exciting and completely open to our hopes and inspirations. 

But the fact is, there is absolutely nothing stable or withstanding. Our jobs can take us across a country, our dating lives can go from one spectrum to the other with a simple text (or snapchat). Our friendships can prove to be a saving grace or a pain in our side, our bank statements can make or break our weekends and dreams of travel and vacation can be as flippant as our phone’s battery charge.

The fact is, our twenties are a sailing catastrophe, the changing sails our lame attempts at trying to change the course of a storm that just won’t end.

I know life will always hand us challenges, but there is something about this time in our lives that pose a Tetris-like game. We’re trying to find the pieces that fit in the right place but usually run out of time before another piece comes streaming down to f*** everything up. I’ll be honest, I was never very good at Tetris.

Most likely, these incredibly incessant changes in life are to be blamed on us and us alone. We are serial daters, workers and citizens. We enjoy our freedom enough to let it suffocate us. We always think we can find a better boyfriend, a better job or a better place to live. We keep relationships that negatively impact us and don’t try to hard enough to keep relationships that clearly keep us from drowning in the twenty-something storm. 

So what to do? Our generation doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon and I am in the same boat. Maybe just become better at sailing or predicting the weather? Maybe its one thing to be an adult and accept that our perpetual need for perfection has consequences. I guess it’s all a process. What has been the best part of this crazy, unanchored point in life is the fact that it’s happening to all of us, not matter how much we get people to believe we have our shit together. 

I think I’ll follow the wise words of a popular Tel Avivian quote and enjoy my problems.

By the way, Tel Aviv is amazing. More to come on an awesome city that was practically made out of my dreams.