Adult Self-Doubt

My student said something interesting to me yesterday. He said that adults have no self-doubt. I quickly informed him that we all have self-doubt. Perhaps we just experience it and cope with it more internally than we did in our youth.

I’ve been experiencing some deep existentialism lately. Maybe its all of the “bad luck” the universe has thrown my way lately. Maybe its the looming big 3-0 happening tomorrow. Maybe its the head cold I currently have that is making me foggy and blue. Maybe its the fact I’m reading “The Stranger” to prepare for my Juniors. I really don’t know. But I was listening to my music last night and Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to be Mine” popped up. I just had to sit down for a minute and reflect. It’s not simple to say. But most days, I don’t recognize me.  The lyrics hit harder than normal. I have a deep connection with the song on a normal day, but last night, it was more piercing. Minus the apostrophe to her unborn child, each line describes my own reflection of myself. She is messy, but she’s kind. She is good, but she lies. She is hard on herself. She is broken and won’t ask for help. And no matter how much I recognize these qualities, I cannot grasp them enough to reign them in. So every sunset turns into a moment of peaceful crisis. Did I do all that I could? I am the best version of myself today? Will the puzzle pieces start fitting together and form a picture that actually makes sense?

I think that is part of the moving abroad experience. One too many “out-of-comfort -zone moments” changes you. One too many times of sounding like an idiot makes you a little more silent. One too many moments of self doubt can make you just as anxious as a teenager.  So to my student who thinks adults don’t understand, please believe that we do. However, I’m still optimistic enough to recognize that all of these challenges and reflective moments will elicit positive change (it’s happened before), but right now, it is uncomfortable. So I guess all I can do is sit on the balcony, look out over the water, and let myself feel a little lost. And validating that starts the process of fixing it.

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