I think how quickly things have changed for me. But that’s the personality of change, isn’t it? When it’s slow, it’s called growth; when it’s fast, it’s change. And God, how things change: some things, nothings, anythings, everythings…all the things change.” | David Arnold, Mosquitoland
When I was growing up, I was terrified of anything that would invoke change in my life. The simplest thing, like painting my bedroom, would cause me to panic. Every eve of the first day of school I would spend the day pacing the halls of my childhood home and the evening wrapped in my mother’s arms. Anything to help the nerves. It seems a little silly now.
David Arnold knew what he was talking about. Everything changes. Each day is a change in it of itself. Even the mundane ones. There are the days where we walk boldly in the face of change. But, then their are the monumental days that force change upon us. Someone we love passes away. It’s like a winged letter of change has been dropped at your doorstep. Signed. Sealed. Delivered in all of it’s pain.
I think that the one thing that I have learned despite the fact that change can still knock me off my feel. There are no shortcuts in life, particularly when it comes to growing up, and change is all part of that. It just amuses me that I was and still am a little terrified of something that I am surrounded by day-in and day-out. Maybe it’s the lack of control when it comes to certain changes, Or the fact that everything can change in a simple blink of the eye. Maybe I’m just rambling.
Maybe life is just built upon the foundation of changes and the ever-changing tomorrow for our “somethings, nothings, anythings and everythings.”
My mother always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be. I could love whomever I pleased. I could live wherever I chose.
I was raised to believe that independence is powerful and deliberately sets you apart from the rest. Yet, I see friends of mine living with significant others far too soon. I witness people relying on their partners to help make every little decision, from the color of their home furnishings, to their internet provider. I feel like people are terrified to go through this life alone, when we all know that we came into this world alone, and we will leave it alone.
Sure, it is comforting to wake in the morning and see someone lying next to you. It can soothe you to sleep knowing that there is someone on the other end of the phone who would do just about anything for you. But, I think it’s important to remember that your decisions are still your own, and shouldn’t be dictated by a person you choose to spend your time with. Our own ability to make choices for the betterment of our own lives is the key to happiness.
My aunt has been stuck in a marriage that has only given her a burden to bare. She has a sadness in her eyes that makes my knees feel weak when I am in her presence. I have always wondered why she didn’t walk away? Is it the fear of being alone? The fear of being forced to be ultimately independent?
You should have the power over your own life to be your own person. If you want to take a vacation from your life on a Saturday and only seek comfort in the words of a great book, do it. If you want to treat yourself to a movie and dinner out, do it. If you have a date with a bottle of wine on a Monday evening, do it, and don’t be ashamed. It is your life. Do with it as you please.
Now, with that said, I understand that for some it is the right time to move-in with someone, or to start that “next chapter” of their lives. But, just be sure that it is a decision for you, and you alone. Not for fear of the person abandoning you because you aren’t ready, or because society has thrust the idea upon you that it is the right time. There is no statistical “right time” or “right way” for anything. The decision is yours. Own it. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.
So, I have been working as an elementary school teacher for the past year now, and part of me is having doubts about this career path. Some days I come into work and feel so inspired and passionate about what I am doing with these young students. Other days I peer down at my pitiful excuse of a paycheck and wonder why I signed up for this.
Just this morning I was surfing around job board postings online to see what options there are out there. What astounded me was that a personal assistant position was going to pay 70K, provide a car, a cell phone, and there is no required education level. Currently? I am pursuing my masters degree and I only see money slipping out of my account and not coming back in at nearly the same rate.
I didn’t chose education for the money. I knew that going in I wouldn’t be living a lavish lifestyle. But, sometimes at the age of 23 I want to be exploring the world, traveling and enjoying this time in my life where I have ultimate freedom. I worry that I have chosen my path too soon, and settled too quickly into something that I love, but I don’t know if it’s what I want to do forever. I don’t know.
I really love to write, and despite knowing that I can still come home every day and write and continue to work on pieces that I have been creating over long periods of time … it’s still hard to get up in the morning.
If you have every felt like you are going in the wrong direction, or have gotten cold feet about a major life decision please comment below. I hope I am not alone in all of this!
Welp. I’m 23 years old. Wow does that ever feel a whole hell of a lot older than 22. I wonder why that is …
I’m not going to sit here and presume that because I have now seen 23 years of life that I am suddenly an expert. But, I am going to share some of the many things that I have learned about myself over the past how ever many months.
1. I can live alone. For the first time ever, I am on my own. NO roommates, NO parents, NO nobody. I must admit that I was petrified … but after the first few weeks I couldn’t imagine not living alone. It is such an empowering and invigorating notion. (I think everybody should do it once in their lives!)
2. It’s all about confidence. Just be who you are and celebrate it. Life is going by too quickly to worry about what people think of you.
3. Coffee makes everything better 😉
4. Don’t fear the unknown. Knowing that our futures can be changed, morphed, and molded into whatever we want is a surprisingly peaceful idea for someone who used to be terrified of change.
5. Love. Love everything, Love everyone.
6. Make time for your family … they are all you have.
7. Join a book club! I just started one up with some of my friends and I am so excited! I picked All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It is a WWII novel and I am already taking notes and preparing for our monthly meet-up 🙂
That’s all I can think of right now, but I will add things as the year goes on. This past year was a big one for me. I taught a full year as an elementary teacher while going to graduate school. People doubted that I could handle all of the pressure. Hell, I doubted that I could handle all of the pressure. But I did, and I’m stronger for it. I am eager to see what 23 has in store for me. Onto bigger and better things, I hope!
Always want to move onward and upward.
This past weekend I sat with friends at my favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Strong margaritas and chips and salsa that keep on coming, hell yes. The long absent Minnesota sun was beating down on my back while we all tossed our hair around and laughed as if we were in an old movie from the 60’s. We gabbed about guys, who is now married to who, recent awestruck-inducing finds from our Facebook news feed, and the like. Shortly thereafter we were greeted by old high school friends that were passing through Minneapolis for the weekend. After a few wobbly tables were pushed together we drank, ate and laughed as if we were just meandering down those high school halls, in those overly self-conscious bodies. When I think about those days it feels like another life … another me. But, for some reason being surrounded by those particular people, I was thrown back.
A couple of far too large margaritas later we were all back at my creaky apartment listening to old records and continuing our drinking bender. It’s funny because since being a college graduate and soon to be finishing my first year of teaching, I like to think of myself as being far wiser than I was in high school. Yet, when I was with those old friends from those days I was the same nervous, “self-doubty” girl I once was. I am proud of the person that I have grown to become and I don’t look illy back upon the person that I once was. That doesn’t mean I want to be her again, however.
I thanked the evening for its brevity. For, what does an overly nervous, over 21-year-old me do? Drink. I’m sure at the point in the evening that I began dancing around my living room was the moment that I started to make a fool of myself.
What I realize now, is that we cannot always escape the people that we were, not because of ourselves, but because of others. We carry on a certain persona with certain people, because we think that’s what they want, or they put a “spell” over us and make us do and say things that we think they want to hear, despite ourselves. Maybe that is why people flee when they want to reinvent themselves. It isn’t so much that a person cannot change on their own, but that the people around them hold them back.
It’s our human failing. Our inability to see things for ourselves while disregarding the sight of others.
We risk denying our true selves by appeasing those who deny us.
This week was a whirlwind if ever there was one. It felt like all of my professors rallied together and decided to make this the week of hell, meaning EVERYTHING was due. Although my head feels very sleep deprived and I slipped on my pledge to become caffeine free, it all feels pretty good. I gave three presentations, turned in three papers and took one exam. The best part of it all? I feel good about everything I turned in. I worked hard, and this feeling paid off. Let’s just hope I do well on all of this stuff!
Next year I will be attending graduate school and working full-time, somewhere, anywhere at this point! My life is on the precipice of extreme busy, not that I’m not busy now. Before I was terrified of not having enough time to see the people that I care about, or be able to have a quiet afternoon for myself. Yet, now that I have done college for 4 years I really do feel confident in handing high stress levels. I am excited for what is about to come my way, eager to dip my toes into it, and confidant that I will be successful.
I feel good. I think I needed this.
The future is this scary, lingering presence in all of our lives. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, it’s there. It taunts us when a job interview falls short or that relationship you thought was “the one” fell through. Immediately, when something that was supposed to be in our future no longer is, we are forced to reconsider everything about ourselves. Ultimately, we question who we are to become.
Recently, I made a big decision for myself. I picked a graduate school. One might think that being accepted into the two schools that I applied to would have been a dream, and in some ways it was. It gave me the security of future. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. It gave me a feeling of confidence in my chosen path. One thing I didn’t foresee in this decision, were the things I couldn’t predict. If I chose to pin myself down to the Twin Cities for another two years then that’s it. I’m stuck. There will be no jetting off to a new city, or country to see the world that I have always wanted to see. Two years isn’t that long. I know that. Yet, I still get scared that the world around me, and the people around me will all move on, and I will still be here, twiddling my thumbs, eagerly waiting for my degree so I too can join the masses. There is one person in particular that weighed heavy on my decision. Our future is unknown. Which can be exhilarating, yet terrifying. How do I plan for something that I am unsure of its future? How can I predict what is best for me, when I can’t predict what is best for “us?”
All of these questions were rattling around in my mind for the past few weeks. I started looking into programs that would churn out my degree at a faster pace, so as to free myself up, in order to be with him. When I saw what I was doing, I had to stop. If we truly love each other, and wish to make it work, we will. I don’t need to compromise my educational plans to accommodate his plan. Nor does he need to do the same for me. Whatever he chooses I will support, and I know he will do the same for me.
I had it all wrong. I have had it all wrong. The future is scary. Yes. But, it is also refreshing to know that it isn’t set in stone. We make our own futures, alone or with another. But, they are still ours and made on our own accord.