After the Finish Line

It occurs to me every so often that I am an actual bona fide adult. Which seams completely crazy.

It seems like my whole life to this point has been planned. There was a nice template, a course carefully marked.

I picture the first part of life as a marathon in a big city. The course carefully marked, thousands of people on the same path as you. Police carefully blocking traffic, allowing you a a clear and safe path. Supporters, friends, family cheering you on. It’s a long race, it’s not always easy, and not everyone makes it.

But you keep at it, keep going, and then you cross the finish line. And for a short time, you bask in the glory of your accomplishment. YOU have completed a marathon. You get congratulations, compliments, and likes on Facebook.

For a minute, you feel as though you have done the impossible. You have worked so hard, trained so long. Then you realize –completing a marathon is a big deal, but it is just one thing that you will accomplish in your life.

You’ve run the course. But the next 26 miles, the next 30 the next 82, there is there is no path laid out. There is no finish line. After focusing for so long and single minded-ly on this goal, you cross the finish line and the thousands of runners disperse and follow their individual paths. There are no signs, there is no crowd cheering you on, there are no volunteers to shepherd the herd.

All of a sudden, I find myself past the finish line. I’ve earned freedom – a license to roam. But this means I have to pick a direction, and more importantly, it means I may have to go alone. I am on a new path, a new journey, and unlike racing toward a college diploma with thousands on the path with me, I’m on a unique path all my own.

Intimidating, empowering, and sometimes lonely. From what I can tell so far, about 80% of being an adult is figuring out where you want to go and a path to get there. (The other 20% is surviving… things like feeding yourself and paying bills) And if your lucky, you find some people to run the course with you, at least for a little while.

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