Everything was just supposed to fall neatly into place. We never worried about the hows or whys of happiness and success. They were just supposed to happen. Ask any fifteen year old who isn't obsessed with depression, what their life will be like when they are twenty three. Each one of them will give you a different answer, but it never involves struggling to make ends meet, living in a crappy apartment, all the while being habitually single. That is just not the way it works.
So you're nineteen, and you decided to take a year off before beginning college. Big deal. Everything is going to work out just fine. You are still young, things will always turn out better in the end.
So you're twenty, and you move out of your parents house into a little crappy apartment. You can't afford to go to college this year, maybe later. At least it is better than living with your parents. Everything will be just fine in a couple of years.
So what, you turn twenty one and still don't have a decent job. Not everyone can make the big bucks at this age. At least you have a job, right? Things will be just fine in a few years.
Big deal, you turn twenty two. Many of your friends from high school have begun to graduate college by now. Maybe you can afford to go to community college in a few years. But not right now, not while you are working two jobs to pay off all those credit cards you maxed out a few years ago. Everything will turn out just fine in the end. It always does.
Twenty three doesn't seem too much different at first. Until you start to look around and see what other people have done with their lives. It isn't until this point that you realize all those little places where you went wrong. All those tiny decisions that are coming back to haunt you. You start to think that everything won't be all right, that maybe this time it won't work out in the end. You begin to realize that you are barely earning a dime more than you did at nineteen. It finally hits you that you don't really even date anymore. You already exhausted any romantic possibilities with anyone from your slowly shrinking circle of friends, and you simply don't have that readily available mass of human flesh that college students do. You begin to lose hope.
Age is only a number. There is nothing stopping you from still achieving all those dreams you had back when you were fifteen. They are out there, just waiting for you. You will just have to work at it a little bit. This may require some sacrifice on your part. Perhaps you will have to move back in with your parents for a while to get out of debt, or maybe you will have to be a college freshman at age 28, instead of age eighteen.
I have spent the time since my 23rd birthday wallowing in the supposed helplessness of my situation (it has been a while now, since I am going on 25). "There is no hope anymore", I would think to myself. My crappy resume of service industry jobs just gets laughed at in job interviews. I forgot how to talk to girls sometime around the age of twenty. But that is OK, because I am too old to be talking to girls, I should be talking to women, and what the hell do I have to offer a woman?
Then one day I realized that the whole age thing is just a number. There is nothing stopping me from pretending like I just got out of high school, and doing everything the right way this time. So that is exactly what I am going to do. I have a feeling it is going to work out a little bit better this time (because I am going to make it work out better).