At 26, I’m everywhere I didn’t think I’d be. I’m one of those outwardly humble, inwardly arrogant types. The kind of guy who says “you’re too kind” in public, but in private wonders why it took you so long. It’s not bad to know your ability right?

That arrogance is the root of my confliction. I’d be lying if I said that I felt external pressure to be a financial success.

But I have myself to thank for my neurotic mood swings. I want to make it-- just like everybody else. I want to tell my mom she can finish up those classes without worrying about going back to work. I want to be the big brother that buys his sister the iPhone 4 that she doesn’t need. Or even the uncle that surprises his nieces with a pop-up visit—because money is no object.

But I am not patient, and I’m not sure I want to be. Success is fleeting and under-accommodating, but don’t tell that to my generation. I’ve been embarrassingly grouped with super people who have little regard for age and expectation. We’re defined by the genius of Mark Zuckerberg and the “talents” of LeBron James. It almost seems unfair. “Good” is passé, and great barely strikes a chord. So I find myself up late, typing through the night, attempting to soothe my overwrought conscious.

I’m looking at my impressionable stage in the rearview mirror, but my “adventurous-truth” phase seems to be right in-front of me. I now understand those movies about ornery old people doing everything they always wanted before going over to glory. Recently, I’ve been fighting the urge to smoke, bungee jump, and get married–sometimes all on the same day. I haven’t quite made sense of those wants yet but I’m sure they represent some inner truth.

Did my parents go through this, those before me?

Going with my gut instinct is scary and liberating. I believe many of us know who we really are inside, but few are courageous enough to let that person out. I’m currently listening to aggressive Hip-Hop, and watching complex sitcoms with contradicting storylines. And for the first time ever, perhaps, I understand them.

Writing used to be my ambition to change the way people thought, then my ticket to notoriety. Now, it’s therapy. Some of my most pure moments are the ones I have alone, pondering life, decompressing over its simple events. Writing tells me where my mind is. Much like a visual artist emotionally flings paint onto the canvas, I now shamelessly hurl words at the keyboard; with no masterpiece in mind.

I feel like I have lost some innocence. The issues I have now require more than a calming cliché. I wanted to end this piece with something profound but I couldn’t find the words. It’s representative of my inability to force the future to get here. So for now I’m strapped in tight to life the 26-year-old roller coaster that is my life, desperately attempting to enjoy the ride.

Austin is Editor-in-Chief of the men’s online lifestyle magazine, The Smugger.

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