The voice that spoke to me from my mirror this morning was a little critical: "You look homeless in that hair!" "Did you pull that sweater out of the donations bin at the Goodwill? Or directly off a homeless person? You are so selfish sometimes! Blah, blah blah, we should have never had a third child."
As unfair as these criticisms may seem, I really haven't done much to earn the respect of the voices in my head. As Facebook goes public, and more children become millionaires, it's easy to wonder what I did wrong that led me to where I sit now: 24-years-old and not a published dime store comic book to my name.
It wasn't long ago that Mark Zuckerberg and his band of merry men in shower sandals forged an empire. They created gold from algorithms and an idea. And they were basically teenagers. Apart from obvious deficiencies in my computer coding and Mandarin skills, why couldn't I have been one of them?
Instead, here I am, two years out of college, and what have I done? I don't have any accomplishments to post in my newsfeed, publish to my twitter, or speak of in a loud voice to passing strangers and dogs outside of the Urth Cafe in Beverly Hills.
Age is no longer an excuse for being unimpressive. Being under 25 doesn't mean you can't be a published author, a television showrunner, a runway model, a world champion, a city council member, a competitive eater, a non-profit starter, a highway robber, a famous person, a prominent Jazz musician, an inventor, an engineer, a magician, and so on.
It's not that I am envious of these impressive peers of mine. I've adopted a philosophy of trying to be jealous only of other people's personal style and healthy hair, and other things only God could have given them. But I'm truly curious what motivated these prematurely successful people to out-do me and so many of the rest of us wanderers. How did they manage to skip over my present stage of pondering and procrastination?
It's like they never experienced the uncertainty that characterizes my everyday existence: The daily questioning of who I am and what makes for a moral and healthy breakfast; the self-consciousness I feel every time I inelegantly change lanes or attempt to network; the absolute misery of feeling totally lost and having to pretend you're enjoying yourself at some weird bar somebody else wanted to go to. No, this vodka drink doesn't taste like poison. Yes, I'm a positive person and I majored in social interaction.
Nor did these young achievers ever waste time, wasting time. I thought everyone of my predicament spent the odd hour analyzing their faces in iPhone mirrors, Googling different letters of the alphabet just to see what other people have been searching for, blogging, or tumblr chasing, etc. But it's as if these productivity whores have never met the Internet or technology.
I was always told that your 20s are for struggling, for starting at the bottom and not getting much higher than the middle. I thought it a quarter-life rite of passage that you entertained all your self-doubt, even if it meant parking your car on a darkened side street and taking more than a few moments to just think about the moon and why somebody doesn't love you anymore, or why somebody never loved you, or why somebody used you, or whatever else is always on your mind.
These go-getters make me fear that I am g-chatting my life away, expending precious brain power in the service of nothing great. At least nothing great, yet.
In despair, I turned as I always do to an iced beverage. But even then, these thoughts of inadequacy were on my mind. Until the back of my Tazo Tea informed me that tea shaman Wang Yang lived to be 800 years old. Just think, in an age when we're living centuries long, what's the hurry to make money and achieve fame? You can't be president until you turn 35 anyways.