What I think when I hear: “My life is so awkward”


“My life is so awkward.”

Okay, so I hear this a lot on the internet, and more recently from strangers in real life. And of course I hear it from friends who, like me, are pretty awkward.

But what does it mean?

Well, “awkward” comes from the obsolete word “Awk” meaning “turning the wrong way”.

Taken in literal terms, “awkward” originally meant “in an awk direction”, in the same way that “forward” means in a front (fore) direction and “backward” means in a back direction.

Taking this in a less literal sense, the phrase means that your life and the decisions you make are taking you in direction that differs from a linear progression followed by others. Not for you the straight line from birth to death with the regular milestones along the way, oh no. You’re doing it different.

But here’s an important point. For me, different is not necessarily bad or good. “Different” just means “set apart”. Or in more colloquial terms, “special”.

You are special.

So when you say “my life is so awkward” I don’t hear that you’re having a hard time making life decisions, or dealing with the pressing anxiety that comes with realising every choice you make in life narrows your options to the point where you feel paralysed with anxiety over what might have been. I mean, I get it, but that’s not what I choose to hear.

Instead, all I hear is “my life is not boring and is getting more awesome all the time”.

And I for one agree with you.

You are awesome.