Growing Up

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I started yesterday off with a panic attack. I was so overwhelmed and worried and it came out of nowhere and hit me like a freight train. You know that feeling when you’re walking down some stairs and you miss the one at the bottom and think you’re falling for a moment, that feeling you get in your stomach and through the rest of your body, that deep fear? You know how it goes away instantly when you realize you’re not falling anymore? Imagine that feeling being intensified, and not going away; that’s what my panic attacks feel like. I feel like I’m drowning on land. It takes a little while to calm me down. I don’t have them often thankfully, typically my anxiety isn’t as intense as it is for some people, and I am usually able to keep it under control. But today I just couldn’t.

I don’t want to grow up anymore. When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be older, and have that freedom that comes with age. But now I’ve hit the point where I fully understand that it’s a trap, and a big lie. There’s no freedom. There’s the vague idea of freedom, and you can almost reach out and grab it, but then reality knocks you back just an inch too far and it is completely out of grasp. I wish I could fly off to Neverland, and just spend my days with the lost boys and Peter Pan, dreaming and living life with no thoughts of fear of the future or longing for something that isn’t really a possibility.

All of this comes after submitting applications at offices for work. Real work. Not the nanny jobs that I’ve had for the past three years, not the silly little jobs I had before that; real, substantial, career building jobs, and that scares me like nothing else in this world ever has. I’m lucky to have the opportunities that I do, I’m lucky to be able to attend college, and to have a realistic possibility of getting a decent job, I know that. But the idea of growing up and doing all the things that adults have to do scares me because it makes me think that my dreams are going to die. It makes me think that my head will be pushed back under the clouds. It makes me think that the life I’ve always wanted to live will never happen, and that’s my biggest fear. I don’t want to end up like my parents, fighting to scrape by, just wishing for the day they can retire to come a little sooner. I don’t want my dreams to die. I want to be the one that makes it, the one that follows their heart all across the world, documenting each time a dream comes true with a pen, notebook, and a smile.

Being told about interview tips, business attire, presenting myself in the best possible light, selling my self to a company, making myself into the most “hireable” version of me that I can be; It all seems so… real. And I’m not ready for it to be real. Will I allow myself to be sucked in to the career-driven world of business? Will I lose who I am along the way? Will I no longer be known as the dreamer, the one who’s going places, the one that will never give up? No. I refuse to do that. I refuse to let this change in my life ruin anything. I am writing this post to make a promise to myself and to motivate myself: Never give up on your dreams. Work, and work hard. But make sure that you are working hard for a reason. Pin up photos of places you want to go. Save every spare dime. Remind yourself everyday why you are doing this. Never lose sight of the dream. You will explore the world. You will move to another country and start a life if that’s what you want to do. You will not settle for a life that you were never meant for. You will succeed. You will come out of this journey into adulthood as the same person you were before, maybe even a little better. You will always be a dreamer. You are going to go far in life.

With all of that said, I am determined not to lose myself in this new chapter in life. I will hold on to that innocence, that completely reckless optimism that I have inside me. I will keep dreaming, and keep believing that I will achieve those dreams, because in the end, I know that I am the only thingΒ that can stand in my way. Here’s to hoping that we can all hold on to that piece of ourselves, and that the existential/quarter-life crisis that is inevitably heading my way in a couple years won’t break me, and won’t be too overly-dramatic. And here’s to hoping that said crisis will at least be a little entertaining to read about when I most assuredly post it on the internet for all of you to read.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

43 thoughts on “Growing Up

  1. My two cents: Do not sell yourself out to ANYONE. Even if it will cost you a job. It is so much better to remain your own person.

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  2. Sometimes I wake up and feel like I just got out of high school, but I’m going to be 40 soon. U don’t give up on ur dreams but what u dream about changes as u get older. I never thought about having children but now I can’t imagine not having the intense joy of them. Life is more then dreams of far away places it’s about crafting a place of meaning, love and adventure in whatever u do. And yes it is about the journey.

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    1. I have other dreams, plenty of other dreams. I want a family, to build a life, and to make memories. My fear with this is that growing up and making all these changes will cause me to move on from my dreams of learning and seeing the world, before I’m able to actually fulfill them. Does that make any sense? Am I just rambling now? Lol oh goodness. Well the point is that I wrote this to try and remind myself to stick to my dreams, and not just fall in line with the norm of settling into the “real world”, getting the career, the husband, and the kids, before I’m truly ready to move on to that step. I hope that makes sense. πŸ™‚

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      1. It totally makes sense. I’ve said it many times before sometimes life gets in the way and I think it’s very smart of you to define what you want now and work to achieve those goals. Growing older doesn’t have to mean growing tired, dull or numb. It’s all in your hands.

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  3. I just had my quarter life crisis a few days ago. Not everyone believe it’s a thing but I was frantic about the future and I was like in a hurry to figure things out, achieve my life goals and basically, to have it all together. I will be turning 25 next month and I thought I should have be something more than who or where I am now. But I realized, I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I have a stable job, I travel often, I am surrounded by people I love, life cannot be better. But before that, I went through some tough times. In life, there is always a balance, if you are down now, sooner or later, you will be on top. Never give up.

    Don’t be too scared of the future because it will do you no good. Just enjoy the NOW and give it all you got.

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    1. It is DEFINITELY a thing. I’m only 21, so I’ve got a little time left, but I can already feel everything beginning.
      I hope that I will manage to be in the right place for me. I plan to do all I can to work towards it, but you’re so right. If I worry about it too much, I’m just going to make myself miserable along the way. I’m going to try and think about it less and just live life as it comes!

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  4. I have all the faith in the in you Lexie! Just the fact that you wrote this post to remind yourself is very admirable!! You’ve got a great head on your shoulders and I KNOW that you’ll go far!! When I was 21 I only had 2 dreams,and they were to buy a house and to go on a cruise. I was 33 years old before I bought my house and at the age of 41,I’m finally going to be going on a cruise to the Bahamas this November thanks to my mother-in-law. I’ve never been to college or been in the service. Since I was 18 just before I graduated high school,I’ve worked at the same place minus a 2 year hiatus. My point is that it sounds like you have a much better plan than I’ve ever had. I’ve always wanted to buy a house and go on a cruise,but it wasn’t my life’s mission to make sure they came true. These things just kind of happened. Ok,I worked to buy my house,but I felt like there was a small push. Otherwise,who knows,I might still be living in an apartment. Keep the dreams alive and you’ll go far!!πŸ˜ƒπŸ’ͺ🏻😍❀️😘

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    1. Its always nice to hear of someone older than me that has fulfilled their dreams, no matter what they are. So often you hear people talking about how they gave up on dreams and made new ones, but I don’t want to make new ones yet, I haven’t finished these ones! I hope you have an amazing time on your cruise, and that it makes that dream worthwhile! Hope you share some pictures on YOU or the Facebook group!

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      1. Absolutely,I’ll try to do both. If you go back to one of my earlier think positive actions,I posted a pic of the ship.

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  5. For one I love the picture of the milky way. 2, I feel the same way every night. I stupidly waited 4 years to go to college. Being one year in, I said “fuck it” and told my self I will begin traveling now. If you have your degree, that is outstanding. Congratulations πŸ™‚ cause now is the time for you to live it up!

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    1. I don’t actually yet. I was that person that started in on a degree that I didn’t really want to do at all, then changed it to something that would at least be more practical and had to start over haha. But I’ve got a year or so left, depending on when the classes I need are available. It’s just easy here to grab an entry level job before you graduate, then you’ll have a relationship with a company going before you even have a degree. It makes it easy to move up to a higher pay bracket and better job after graduating without the worry of being jobless or starting at entry level when you’ve paid 50 grand for a piece of paper lol.
      Typing all of that out just made me more depressed! Haha, I’m not ready to grow up or think logically like that!

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      1. Haha yes my step dad is an infectious disease/internal medicine doctor and my mom’s a nure, BUT my real dad owns a diner that does so poorly, I got a grant for college. I tried to take on 55 hours a week at work and 3 classes. HA! what a joke that was, I had to drop all my classes and I lost that grant. So now I’m like well, I’m not paying for college right now. I want to travel.
        Moral of the story, my mom and step dad live a very good life, but yet my dad and step mom struggle, and they seem just as happy. So remember, the rat race isn’t everything;)…just be happy πŸ™‚ positive vibes bring positive lives

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      2. Very true. I just want to manage to do things that make me happy, and build a happy life with whatever family I end up having and whoever I end up having it with. My parents struggled a lot, even got divorced randomly for a couple years, but ended up getting back together, remarried, and are still struggling, but they’re happy. πŸ™‚ I just have to stay focused so I don’t lose track of the things I want to do in life, and end up falling into that trap of forgetting about doing the things I dream of, and just work all the time and lose my happiness, ya know? Haha I’m only applying for these jobs because everyone has convinced me that I can save more money this way to pay for traveling. Sold me on the whole idea. πŸ™‚

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      3. Definitely. I was reading a post today that said “I drive my car every day to a job I hate, to pay for this expensive car, to go home and do it all over again” I was like fuck that. I will take a leap of faith and go with my heart. Worst case, I will work in a warehouse when I get back to finish school.
        Oh really?! Damn. Hopefully for us, times never get that tough. Definitely loose sight of your dreams, and yes that’s true!! That’s why I instantly found a new job, so start saving for Australia :):):):)

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      4. That sounds like a miserable life. And I wish I were able to head off to Australia! It sounds like you’re going to have such a good time there!
        Yeah, it was a really rough period. I plan to work hard on a personal and mental level on whatever relationship I’m in in the future so that even if we end up dead broke, struggling for everything, we’ll at least have a solid relationship and I’ll have someone to go through that struggle with. It never helps a bad situation to turn on the person that’s supposed to be your partner.
        What all are you planning to do in Australia?

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  6. You have so much time! If I could go back when I was 21, I would definitely travel! I really wanted to but fear was in the way. I really wanted to do a working holiday or study abroad.
    Also I wouldn’t worry about not be able to travel because life gets in the away. If you are looking to “settle down” with a partner someday, I bet that person you find will have the travel bug too. Then you always have a travel buddy!
    Maybe you’ll end up meeting someone on one of your trips and be able to live in another country? You never know, right?
    I’m 30 now, and have only really travelled in the last few years or so. I wish I had taken advantage of travelling when I was younger,but I don’t really regret it. I think you will enjoy where your life leads you regardless.
    Also I have had anxiety and many of my friends and family suffer too, I know it’s never a fun experience!

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      1. Oh my gosh I would have to say Paris! It really is a magnificent city! As for my favourite natural places so far, either here in BC, Canada (road tripping around) or the west coast/inner Hebrides of Scotland. Isle of Mull is probably the most beautiful place I’ve seen yet!

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  7. I remember feeling like you and being terrified about finding a ‘real’ job. But one step in front of the other, and somehow I did it. And then there was that other small thing, having a baby, that made the word terrifying an understatement. I didn’t want to lose myself, most importantly. Both of these examples taught me that we decide what we want for our lives, no one else, and that our dreams live on as long as we pursue them and make them happen. Life is ours, no one else’s and those that use other excuses to explain away their fallen purpose are just cheating their way out. Hold on to your dream and you WILL succeed πŸ™‚

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  8. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn (so far) when it comes to being an adult is putting myself before my job. Technically I’m not in the ‘real world’ yet – as a graduate student, my work revolves around my school, basically. But it still means that between schoolwork and work, I’m on campus 60 hours a week. What I started doing is separating my work and my ‘life’ – everything school-related was done at work, and I made a deal with myself – that when I was home, I wouldn’t think about work.

    It’s done a lot for my anxiety. I’m not perfect at it yet, nor does it make all of the problems go away. But it helps. It separates the ‘you’ you want to be from the ‘you’ that’s at work. I know of other people who use similar tactics with their ‘regular’ jobs.

    I also would like to end up in the UK someday, more specifically in Wales, I think – one of my best friends lives there. I’m hoping to get to visit her sometime in the next couple years. πŸ˜€

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    1. It sounds like you and I are very similar! I have the hardest time remembering that I am my own person, and not letting school and work overshadow that. It’s incredibly difficult. I hope you’re enjoying school! I’m still trying to pin down whether or not I want to jump straight into graduate school, wait a little bit, or just not do it at all. Tough decisions all around.
      Wales is stunning. I just wish I could get the language down, there are some tough sounds to make! Haha. πŸ™‚

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      1. I do like graduate school most days, but I’m leaning more and more towards a career that doesn’t involve graduate school, unfortunately, but I’m staying in it as my backup plan (my dream career is more artsy – novelist – so, you know, a good backup plan is essential). I’d recommend talking with any grad students you know in your field, contacting programs you might be interested in, that sort of thing – most program people should be able to put you in touch with a student or two who could talk to you about the program, give you a feel for what graduate school would be like if you wanted to go that direction.

        It is hard, somedays, remembering that I exist outside of what is going on with work and school. It’s a work in progress, trying not to draw my value/self-worth from that!

        My friend and I joke about how Welsh kind of looks like someone keyboard smashed, took out all the vowels, and doubled some consonants for jollies. It’s a gorgeous but confusing language. XD

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  9. If I could go back to being your age I would pick my wildest dream and go for it. I got sucked into corporate life because I was told to “grow up and get a job” and i thought I had no choice. All I can say is, sit yourself down, discover what really and truly makes you happy, no matter how silly it sounds to anyone else, and pursue that course. You’ll have plenty of time later on to “settle down.” Never give up on yourself or your dreams. Finish school first, of course!

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    1. Thanks so much, I really appreciate hearing your story! I’m tentatively planning a little summer full of traveling and following some of my dreams, I just hope I’ve got the courage to do it. πŸ™‚

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      1. Unfortunately there is no pill to give you courage… you have to grow it by doing the things you fear the most. Then it gets easier. You have the right attitude, so you will make it!

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  10. I’m 30 and still have the same struggle with growing up or just being free. It doesn’t get any easier with age unfortunately however I now make peace with my need to break free and unsettle. Freedom is such a great dream to have but it’s dam hard to live by. It’s so easy to just to fit in the mold and follow the masses sometimes.

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  11. Lexie, I think there’s a fairly simple recipe for we who dream of doing things that may appear (to others or maybe even to ourselves), as “out there” or “a pipe dream”. The recipe is staying true to yourself (what your intuition, gut feeling, inner voice is telling you). Sometimes you need to have quiet time to hear what your inner voice is telling you or you need to take some time to just “sit with” the options before deciding. The point is, you don’t have to do something if you really don’t want to. You always have a choice.

    If the first goal on your to do list is to travel, then pursue that as your number one goal for right now. Put yourself in the situation (maybe that’s a job) that will lead to the opportunity to travel. Whether that means you become a travel writer, or just get a part-time job to make some quick money to take a trip this summer. Sometimes mapping things out on paper helps to explore options. Write your goal down in the middle of a sheet of paper and ideas for what you can do to make it happen, as crazy as they may be. The other part of the recipe is to have faith, in yourself, and in the universe to “make it happen”.

    I think anxiety comes from overwhelm (at least in my experience), so it’s helpful to just look at what’s right in front of you and not think about all of the potential situations that may arise or all of the stuff that’s on your plate. One step at a time or one task at a time.

    You’ve got this πŸ™‚

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  12. How do you do it? Write about things that I can relate to so much! πŸ™‚
    It sounds like you’re having the kind of crisis (upcoming) that I’ve been going through for a while.
    I’m 28, just moved to Norway, after having moved from Belgium to England to travel around every 6 months for 2 years, back to Belgium for 2 years, to Holland for 1,5 year and now here.
    Although we’ve found the place we want to settle now and we absolutely love the life here, now mastering the language a little better, I find myself faced with the perspective of looking for a job.
    Let me tell you, that is a tough one. I have done about 6 years worth of office jobs and although at the time they were fine, I realise it is a brain killer for me. I get antsy and restless.
    After my office jobs I dabbled in cooking jobs for a while and found myself in an animal care taker job.
    I absolutely LOVE working with animals, being outdoors with them and taking care of them. (Much nicer than working with people if you ask me πŸ™‚ ) Only thing is… society tells you that it is not a job to ‘build a carreer’ on and it scares the crap out of me! Yes I’m healthy and young but I have no idea what will happen by the time I’m 40. Will I still be able to do some of the hard physical work that comes with a caretaker job? etc etc.
    All that to tell you I panick about those things too and I am SO torn between taking the ‘safe’ option and find a job that I can build a ‘carreer’ with or find a job that I enjoy… We only have 1 life and have to make the most of it.
    I usually look at this way : Do what you love and everything will sort itself out.
    I don’t know if that’s of any use for you but it’s usually what I go by… But then again, I am a hopeless romantic in life πŸ™‚ ❀

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    1. How on earth did you do all that?! Haha, I’d love to hear more about all of your travels and experiences! As someone who dreams of travelling and living in different places to find the right place for me, it would be amazing to hear about the things you’ve done and how you managed to do all of it! πŸ™‚

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  13. Lexie, I have my dream job and the life I wanted, I was 19 when I opened my business that’s 20 years ago now and it’s a pleasure every day to go to work doing exactly what I want to do….keep dreaming and reach for the stars the only person that can stop you is you…I don’t doubt you will get everything you hope and wish for, you have a great spirit and I know you will do well in what ever you decide to do x

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    1. My goodness, 19?! How amazing! I could barely focus on my silly part-time job at 19. I am wonderfully inspired by you! What is your business?
      Thanks so much Carol, I appreciate all you’re kind words endlessly, you are someone that is keeping me motivated! πŸ™‚

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