Cereal

So I read this thing, a quote on Pinterest (is there anything Pinterest doesn’t have?) In paraphrase it said:

“You know what’s crazy?

The fact that I could literally

change my life

at any moment.

I could stop talking to everyone

that makes me unhappy.

I could kiss whoever I want.

I could shave my head or take my own life. I could get on a plane.

Nothing is stopping me. Nothing.

The entire world

is in my hands and

I have no idea what to do with it.”

I read that and being 22 I agree, painfully. It’s true, all of it, all the possibilities. Anything can happen anytime it is a truth that’s so very intense it can be terrifying. A truth that applies to all ages because we’re never in control like we think we are but there’s something about the 20’s. Twenty-something’s are often in a whirlpool of happiness and confusion, responsibility, restlessness, and freedom. It’s such a beautiful mess. Before this stage there’s the cluster of awkward frustrating years leading up to 20, 21, 22, and so forth. It’s no longer about just being a kid anymore, and the not-quite-grown-into-my-body-phase has thankfully ended, and most of us have even outgrown are misguided teenage emotions and now we’re trying to become something that matters, actual functioning members of society. People that have grown into there lives just enough to want to make something of them. Once people are in there twenties nearly everything is legal, there’s very few privileges in life left to earn. Handling the job, the car, the money, the apartment, that stuff is up to us now. The twenties generally mean lots of freedom, so what the heck do we do with it?

Cereal; [seer-ee-uh l] noun, edible grain, one of the most outlandish things this country has to offer. Standing in the cereal aisle at Walmart is a baffling experience. It can make a person rethink their entire life, cereally. There’s so many to choose from, not just a handful but dozens. There are five or ten different types of Mini Wheats for crying out loud. Who even eats those? You come in for Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, or Cocoa Puffs and you find yourself standing in front of forty different boxes questioning everything you ever that you knew. It’s just too much, that’s the overwhelming truth stacked high on the shelves underneath the way-to-bright fluorescent lights. So you opt for the cheaper cereals because you’re out and about grocery shopping like a real adult and adults are responsible right? So that means budgeting and budgeting means saving. Okay, great, be responsible (at least this once) pick a cheap cereal. You find the ones on sale, the 2/$5 or whatever and feel pretty great until you find out there’s fifteen cheap cereals to pick from. What about the variety pack? Eight mini boxes of different cereals but you only actually like three of those, so is it worth it? What if the other five taste like mushy cardboard? You could just trust your gut and go with old faithful because you already know you love it. In fact, before this crisis Lucky Charms are what you came in for. It’s hard to remember what you already know when you’ve got a captain, a toucan, and a tiger all screaming at you that they are the right one. So many voices, so many choices, it’s a wonder people don’t have mental breakdowns on the regular when faced with this decision.

 “Life is like shopping for cereal, you can never be absolutely sure what to choose.”-Jena Rogers

This existential issue is especially relevant to those in there twenties because by this stage in life we’ve all but entirely grown up. We’re adults now but it’s hard to know what that’s like because the only thing behind us is years of childhood. There’s not even the bliss of being an ignorant teenager who thinks there’s nothing left to learn as long as they keep earning twenty bucks a week from mom and dad. We have the freedom but it’s hard to choose because we’re also aware of the responsibility. Why not just pick a cereal and get on with it? Well because that choice costs money, and making it was time spent that won’t ever be returned. The box that ends up in the checkout line will be sticking around for quite some time. It will be opened and eaten for many, many days and then eventually it will be finished.

By now you know what you’re good at, for example; nursing is a good field, being a welder is lucrative, graphic design has many options. Whatever the choice is in these years, at this time, it’s going to stick. How far should the degree go? Should the major change? Maybe education isn’t the most beneficial pursuit. Is youth the time to travel and absorb other cultures? Is it time to choose between someone to love and doing something you love? Can you do both? What are the long-term goals? What about the short term? What’s the first step? I’m guessing the stress level right here is Britney Spears head-shave of 2007. No worries though, lets bring it back down to a serene lazy Sunday, we’re not in control anyway and that’s good because when we think we are, we grab the box we think we want and then a bunch of other boxes tumble to the floor and bust open. Then it’s embarrassing because an announcement has to be made on the overhead speaker for someone to come find us in disarray and help clean up the mess we made.

Life is best lived as a movie viewer observing the scenes on screen excitedly unaware of what’ll happen next rather than being a critic brooding over the pages of a journal putting too much value into how every line makes them feel. There’s bound to be plot twists as well as highs and lows. The guarantee however, is that everyone has a beginning, middle, and an end. In the end it will be okay, if it’s not okay then it’s not the end. So embrace your inner elderly and get the Raisin Bran without the crunch because that’s what you’re into and being an old soul definitely qualifies. Congratulations, you chose your cereal. Now, what kind of milk do you want?

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