Deep Breaths at 25

I turned 25 last month.

Life can be really hard sometimes.

People will say that it's easier at 25 than 'miscellaneous age'. Maybe that's true. I can't comment on that because I'm not 'miscellaneous age', I'm 25 (We just covered this). I don't have kids. I don't have a wife. I cook eggs 17 times a week.

But after 22 years of school, 22 years of relatively well defined trail, there isn't a path anymore. Like I can do anything. I can do anything. That is incredible! The degree of freedom offered to me is unique to being a caucasian boy in American in 2021. I wouldn't trade to live in any other era. But all this freedom (perhaps better defined as optionality), can make us sad.

But when else was I to learn how to deal with all these decisions?  When I lived with my parents, there wasn't a choice of how to deal with conflict. There was just how we did it in our family. When I was in high school, I didn't have to decide how to spend all my waking hours. There was a set schedule with the kids in my class.

I didn't have to actively discern who to see and when to see them and who to disappoint, or how to deal with that disappointment, or how to discern whether or not I actually am disappointing them or if the friendship is just naturally fading. 
(I don't have any great answer to these questions, yet. Disappointing, I know).

Like many other 25 year olds I see on the internet, I had a very impactful experience with psychedelics. When treated with the weight they deserve, psychedelics can be transformative.  One trip realization that has created much space for forgiveness in myself and in others is this:

At any given moment, you're doing the best you can with the tools in your toolkit.

With your energy, your mindset, your weekly circumstance, your relationships, the weather,  your current season of life, you're giving it your best try today. Everyone is. No one wakes up and thinks "let me actively implode and work against my own good".

Do I actively work against my own good? Constantly. But not through logical, rational decision making. It's a product of my current (and past) environment and my decisions to this point. 

This realization gave me way more empathy for self because it's unfair for me to judge previous Drew Harrilchak against the Drew I am today because there are a lot of tools in my present day toolkit that weren't there previously. And for others humans, due to family of origin and life circumstances and people that were (or were not) in their lives,  they have vastly different toolkits.  But all rational humans submit to the "not trying to implode today" mentality.

Does that mean that we shouldn't hold people accountable for their actions? Absolutely not. If anything, holding people accountable is one of the most concrete ways that tools are developed. If you love someone, goodness gracious, hold them accountable. In love, call them to who you and they know themselves to be. (The ability to hold someone accountable in love is, in itself, another tool to have in the toolkit. One I am actively working on developing).

But to all the exhausted, the confused, the tired-yet-overly-energetic-at-inopportune-times 25 year olds out there: grace upon you my friends. Deep breaths. This is an inevitable part of the game that must be played. And one that can only be played in real time.

Difficult? Potentially.

Necessary? Certainly.