I really think that I have experienced and am experiencing a ______ life crisis. I don't know what to call it when I am only (freshly, as of yesterday) 28 years old. I hope it's not a mid-life crisis as I would like to live to be older than 56, but I suppose stranger things have happened and I know the world would in fact go on.
Unless the world ends in December of this year. In that case we have a whole new set of issues on our hands.
Anyway-- I feel this is an actual "crisis," meaning that I am so afraid of failing that I am taking myself out of the ball game all together. This is new for me. I of course have felt fear and anxiety before, but I have never really let it impair me to the point of just removing myself from the situation all together. Now I feel like I have been doing lately is thinking of ways to get out of commitments and responsibilities I would otherwise have no problem completing. Am I vague enough for you?
I love the Internet, but the Internet doesn't always love me. What I mean is that I love to stalk blogs, read websites, go Pinterest crazy, and just basically creep around into other people's lives, but these practices have really hurt me lately and have hindered my confidence as I enter my 29th year of life. In a time when I should be more sure and self-aware than ever, I find myself doubtful, insecure, and questioning every single part of myself, slicing and dicing until there's nothing left.
My practice of reading outstanding teachers' blogs has caused me to doubt what I can do in the classroom, thinking I'll never be as creative and talented and effective as these ladies. I have woken up in the middle of the night thinking about my class's ISTEP scores, wondering what I could have done better to get 100%.
I love to get inspiration for photos from other photographers who are much more talented than I am, but lately I have just been consumed by worry that my photos will never be that amazing. When I don't hear back from a client who has received my photos, or when I lose a client to someone else (which has happened before as well as just recently-- a long time, 4 session client), I start to wonder why I am even trying. I begin to think that this whole thing is a waste of time and I should just quit before I waste any more money. I don't like fishing for compliments-- in fact never actually try to fish for a compliment, but there are times that I would really like to hear something like, "WOW! That photo is incredible! GREAT WORK!" I don't hear that...like, ever. So, maybe my photos aren't incredible, and maybe I should just quit? I don't know anymore.
Don't get me started on Facebook. I love and hate it with a passion. I recently felt like a loser because I saw a bunch of girls my age celebrating a bachelorette party, looking all cute and trendy and skinny with their alcoholic drinks in a hotel room, while I was sitting on my bed in Luke's T-shirt at 8:45 on a Saturday night ready to call it a night. I am always so torn between loving being "past" that time in my life and hating that I am not even 30 and have the social life of a 75 year old. Then again, even those people have social calendars at the retirement home. I have phantom friends, friends who I know are there but I don't talk to or see unless it's on my Facebook newsfeed. I have become awful at remembering birthdays, organizing dinners, having people over, or basically just making an effort. I'm embarrassed by what a horrible friend I am.
What it all comes down to, I believe, is that I truly have no idea WHO THE HELL I AM. I am 28 years old and suffering an identity crisis. I don't know who I am, what I want, or how to be OK with any of that. I feel ungrateful for saying all of this because I know that I have a beautiful daughter and another on the way, and I know I have a great husband and I know that we have jobs and a roof over our heads and cars that run and all that stuff. I know. But is it too much to ask to feel as whole on the inside as I appear on the outside? Where do I go from here? How do I make things better?
I guess I need to sit down and really consider the reasons why I am doing what I am doing-- teaching, photography, blogging, etc. Am I doing it for ME, or am I doing it for the approval of others? If it was for me, then it wouldn't matter what anyone else thought (or didn't think, which tends to hurt just as much). I have somehow lost my way and am hoping to find my way back soon.
In the meantime, I bought a laminator. It helps a little.