Waiting... but for what, exactly?

'Just what is coming up for me here?'

It's one of the greatest paradoxes of young adult life, just what exactly is it that I should do next?


'When I was your age, I had no idea...' they would say to me as I passed them their coffee over the counter, as though their words provided subtle comfort to my inherent dilemma. In actuality, it's through this subsequent communication where the issue lies... just what is it that I'm waiting for?


When growing up, we're often led to mature quite quickly. We're brought up to act fast, to pretend as though we have it all figured out: our dream job, university choices, relationships. These settled expectations, which have been compiled throughout our education, by parental figures, or through social media, often - and usually - lead us to feel overwhelmed. Albeit, that once we finally graduate, we're inevitably led to feel one thing: disappointment.


'I have no idea'

Perhaps we've been misled by certain goals and ambitions that we might have made when we started University, and paired with our peers (who seem to be doing a far better job at adult life), we find ourselves faced with the burden of murky feelings and emotions. Trying to solicit these fears can be a challenge; no matter how hard we try to conspire an alternative to our problems, we find ourselves back to where we started: just what is our gut trying to articulate?

Narcissus staring at his own reflection, c. 1903

It is through these unsettled qualms that have many of us feeling trapped. Perhaps we might not have a hard-hitting graduate scheme covering humanitarian or global issues in the newsroom; or we aren't volunteering around the world, assisting in developing communities or nations; maybe our current job just isn't feeling all that interesting. All in all, our lives might feel unimpressive.


Maybe, the reflection of ourselves isn't meeting expectations.


Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, c. 1558

Centred is a ploughman guiding his horse. A shepherd is minding his flock. Beyond lies ships heading towards the harbour of a bustling city. In this painting, everyone is seemingly distracted of Icarus's dilemma (flailing limbs can be seen closely at the bottom right). In retrospect, these characters are experiencing their lives with acute difference, irrespective of their close proximity, or the poor soul drowning beneath them.


In this context, we are so widely concerned about our own lives, that we often forget to imagine just how lucky we are. Like Icarus, we might feel inclined to rush into areas of our lives that we just aren't prepared for. Though we might not have a set of wings - at least we won't be flying too close to the sun - we may feel impatiently frustrated at just how slow and unclear our current trajectory is. Being eager to jump from one stone to the next, be it a career change or travelling the world, is a commendable journey. Naturally, it's something we should all be inclined to push towards. Though, we should first learn to solicit these feelings, be it our doubts and fears, and accept our current position, its foundations and its comforts, with a clear mind.


Often, waiting can be the best option we have.