At the age of 26, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Italy, and Ken Kesy published One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. At 27, I, Kellie Wood, cannot figure out the child safety lock on my bottle of CVS brand mouthwash.
Growing up I always thought I’d have some sort of grasp on life by 20. Based on the TV shows I watched, I thought I’d be living in an apartment in New York City and hanging out with five of my friends every day at Central Perk. Now that I’m in my 20s, I know that’s never going to happen. I barely have three friends that would want to see me every day. I don’t even think Central Perk is a real place but I’m too scared to Google it. I want to try to keep at least one of my dreams alive. As an adult, everyday is a challenge. The last Google search on my phone was how to make a grilled Cheese sandwich. God didn’t put his best foot forward while making me.
You can’t put me beside someone like Beyoncé and still believe that God loves everyone the same. He definitely has his favorites who tour the country singing number-one hits. And his rejects that somehow ended up on Earth unable to open a bottle of CVS brand mouthwash.
I think I’m struggling a bit with life. I just don’t know how to handle any of this adult stuff. I can’t seem to get my life together like Oprah or Prince George. Every night I find myself wide awake in bed thinking about different aspects of life I’m failing at. Nothing is falling into place. And on top of that, I’m now expected to start providing food, clothes, and shelter for myself. How am I going to provide a life for myself? I can’t even get my timing right to clap at the clapping part during the Friend’s theme song. If that’s not a sign of something not right, I don’t know what is. A lot of people will say it’s just anxiety that I’m feeling. I’m sure my therapist will agree with them. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts and fears I have while alone in bed every night while hugging my Star Wars pillow as if it were a living, breathing person. And yes. It’s as sad as it sounds.
All these thoughts keep me up for hours. But I always fall asleep. And wake up in the morning alive. And a little more relaxed. Because as freaked out as I am now, I know that everyone goes through this phase in their life. I get glimmers of hope that I’ll end up all right. Sometimes, when I watch Law and Order, the person I was suspicious of the whole time ends up
running a kiddie porn ring. Also, I don’t panic as much anymore when I have to make doctor’s appointments for myself. I don’t even get excited and emotional during the holiday season when I see Santa in the mall. I compose myself and wait in line for my photo like an adult.
These might not be big things, but it’s a start. And you can’t get anywhere without starting. Sidney Poitier was told after his first audition to stop wasting everyone’s time and do something else with his life. Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by many publishers. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper because he “lacked imagination.” All these successful people felt like they were failing at life. But they weren’t. They were just getting started. I might not be inventing the cotton gin, conquering Italy, or publishing a novel, but I will do something. I don’t quite know what yet. But as soon as I get the cap off of my CVS brand mouthwash, I’ll let you know.
~ Kellie is a writer based in Astoria, NY. She has a BFA in dramatic writing from SUNY Purchase. Kellie strongly believes in the quote “A day without laughter is a day wasted”. She finds humor in her writing believing that humor can connect people and help them become more empathetic. She lives with both depression and anxiety and finds writing about them and her experience therapeutic.