By: Trischan Laing
I think we can all agree between the ages of 18-26 are a very confusing time. My friends and I all started out together in high school, but somewhere along the way, we chose different paths. The paths we chose played an instrumental role in the way our lives are unfolding. There is no manual or guide to “adulting” but I feel like this is definitely not how it’s supposed to be going.
Society puts a timeline on everything. So much so, that as a little girl I gave myself a timeline too. I can clearly remember my 10-year-old self, planning that when I turned 24, I would have already been married, bought a house and a car. My 24th birthday is in two weeks and just last week I asked my dad to deposit money in my bank account. Needless to say, my 10-year-old self would be thoroughly disappointed.
I am almost finished with medical school and I’m extremely proud of myself. But, sometimes I can’t help but feel that this is the reason I’m doing so poorly at adulting. You see, my friends are having babies, getting married, and moving into managerial positions in their careers. While at 24 years old I am still worried about my GPA. It’s easy to feel dismayed. A lot of times I feel like the little girl who is still wearing a Kim Possible training bra when everyone around her is wearing wired, padded C cups with lace.
Accepting my journey has been particularly difficult for me because I tend to be very hard on myself. I used to set unrealistic yearly goals, then I’d get overwhelmed and burst into tears when November came around and I hadn’t ticked anything off. My journey as a medical student, a writer, and a Black person living miles away from home in Asia is a particularly unique one. I began affirming that this is who I was and set my goals with my journey in mind. I stopped comparing myself and instead of writing down what I was “supposed to” achieve, I wrote down things I actually wanted. I made short-term monthly goals instead of unrealistic ones.
“I began affirming that this is who I was and set my goals with my journey in mind.”
Every week, I try to have a no social media day. I especially avoid Instagram because what we see are the awards, flashy lifestyle, and congratulatory moments. I am happy for everyone’s success and I believe we can all achieve whatever we put our minds to if we work hard. But, I hardly ever see the hard work. People seldom post their lows, failures, and disappointments. The truth is, nobody wants to see that. However, social media can let us forget that these disappointments do happen and they are not unique to us.
Last year I read this book titled The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It taught me about living in the present, focusing on myself and now. Many times I surpass my goals without realizing it because I am in such a hurry to move on to the next thing. I now take the time to celebrate the small victories. These moments are a reminder that I am enough.
I am a Black woman. I am a medical student. I am a writer. And I will be the first university graduate in my family. This is my journey and I have accepted it.