Do you ever just remember something? Are you ever just sitting there and all of a sudden the old projector in your mind starts rolling and you're reliving an old memory so vividly, with same feelings and thoughts now as you were having in that moment? I did, and it made me realize something about myself that I can't believe I had hidden within me for over a decade.
I'm an imposter. A sheep in older sheep's clothing. The memory I remembered was of myself the summer before I started sixth grade: middle school. That was cool and everything, but it was nothing like my cousins who were in high school. When I thought about what their lives might be like in high school it was almost like imagining what it would be like if my life was a movie. They were older, were in drama or in charge of clubs, hey, drove to and from school and were always texting their friends. It was just so cool. I couldn't wait to get to high school and feel like I was sure they did, and then maybe my younger cousins would look up to me like I look up to them.
Of course, high school came and went and I never once thought back to that time when all I wanted was to be a cool high schooler like my older cousins. What I did think about a lot though were those same cousins who were now in college, going to football games, joining Greek life, making friends, partying all the time (after they finished studying of course), and basically being adults. Here I was stuck in high school, going to choir rehearsal and immediately having to go home and do my homework while they were getting internships and discovering who they were going to be in this world. I once again couldn't wait to be the cool adult that was in college, making her way in the world during the best four years of my life. That was when I was going to have my life together and was once again a point in my life I couldn't wait to reach.
Presently, I'm a junior in college studying advertising and I am so far from having everything figured out. A couple of days ago I started to imagine what my life will be in five years once I've graduated, moved to a big city and have a job I love. Surely I'll have it all figured out then, right? That's when that old memory came flooding back to me and I realized that I'll never have anything completely "figured out." None of us will and there's a pretty good chance my cousins who were living my dreams at that moment didn't either, and still don't.
Why am I an imposter? Well, I was spending too much time being the person I knew I was going to be in the future. I would always act like someone I wanted to be instead of who I was. In high school I tried so hard to act as if I was in college
Matthew McConaughey, during his Best Actor acceptance speech for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club," gave an anecdotal story about how his hero has always been himself 10 years in the future because it always gives him something to look forward to, something to reach for and achieve. My problem was that I wasn't doing that. I was looking at myself now as someone less and that if I just wait, future me will figure it out. I was too busy spending my time visualizing the future to make the most of the present.
I was an imposter because I was not being me. I was treating the present as a vessel to the future. Future me will have done the work so there's no reason for me to enjoy the present or strive toward my goals now. That sucks. We're all just extremely mobile babies who have more experience. We're all imposters.