Learning to not live my life with a roadmap

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

In September of this year, I’ll be turning 21 and will make the full transition to a “real” adult. In a few short months, I’ll be the same age that my parents were 26 years ago when they got engaged. Five years after that at the age of 26, they also had me as their first-born son. I can’t fathom the idea of me getting married at my age. I feel like I’m still in a phase of my life where I’m coming into my own and learning how to take care of myself. So I can’t imagine having the added weight and responsibility of making a commitment to care for another person for the rest of my life. But that’s what my parents did and at 21, they were accomplishing important moments in life by establishing a marriage together, living in their own place a few years away from having their first child. Yet here I am, still living under my parents’ roof, I don’t own a car yet and I’m nowhere close to finding someone that I would want to spend the rest of my life with.  


When I compare where I am now to where my parents were when they were my age, it may seem like I’m not doing enough. I know this isn’t true, not everyone has the privilege of being able to attend college and I’ve worked hard to get where I am now. But I still can’t help but make the comparison between myself and them and feel inadequate occasionally. Like most children, I looked at my parents and how they lived their lives as a roadmap for how mine would go. If they went to college and graduated to get a job, so would I. If they found someone that they truly loved and would spend the rest of their lives with, so would I. But as I got older, I started to realize that I wasn’t living the same life that my parents did. I first realized this when my parents told me that high school would be one of the best times of my life where I would make long-lasting memories and friends. But when high school ended up being a miserable experience for me that I didn’t enjoy, I felt like I was doing something wrong. Where my parents were incredibly social and had made life-long friends, I was the opposite, spending most of my time at home due to me not making any real friends during high school.  


One thing that I try to recognize myself more though is that none of us all follow the same road of life. We aren’t meant to repeat the same cycles of life verbatim and we all have different personal goals that only we ourselves can achieve. I’ve had chances and opportunities to do things that my parents and countless other people never got to whether it be the variety of media projects that I’ve done through my major or the marketing internship I have right now. My accomplishments may be different from the ones my parents’ but that doesn’t invalidate them. I don’t need to keep comparing myself based on what my parents have accomplished. Because my life is my own and what I’ve done with it is just as impressive in its own unique way.