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.
I’ve come realize that I’m the kind of person who claims to know a lot about life–and love. So I am gong to continue to assume that I know everything about love … here goes.
I don’t understand those who dive head first into a new relationship with no regard for life they had before, particularly the people that were in their life before. Isn’t it amazing that we give up handfuls of friends for the companionship of one person? Endless evenings drinking wine with your best girlfriends, dancing around the living room in nothing but your underwear with your roommates, rollerblading through the streets of Minneapolis in outfits that would make a carnival act look twice, are all thrown away for the assumption that what you have with this person is going to last you a lifetime. My fondest memories are those that I had with my friends. I have a lifetime of memories with the same people. They aren’t my back burner friends, they aren’t my just-in-case friends, they are my forever people.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the warmth of sleeping next to him body and waking up to a kiss. But even despite my wildest fantasies, I cannot predict the future of this, or what it will become. There is no telling that we will both love each other as fiercely as we do now five years from today, or even five months. It’s all a reflection of love’s precariousness.
A friend of mine started dating someone last summer. He’s a good enough guy and they seem happy. But her life is no longer centered around being their for her friends, something she used to claim was the most important thing to her. Her days now are lived out in the solace of her bedroom with only him to hear her words. It’s all just fucking weird, right? She hasn’t known this person for a year, she is 22, and is moving in with him planning out the rest of their lives together. He has lost all the people he used to call his friends, and her friends are quickly dwindling in numbers. It all seems so lonely.
I can only imagine what my home will look like someday. A small, vine-covered cottage, perhaps? Or one of those alarmingly modern boxes, full of windows, somehow resembling the life of a goldfish? I don’t know the material it will be made out of, or the neighborhood it will reside in. But, I know that I want it to be full. Full of all the people in my life that I love, and that have stuck me through it all. I don’t want to walk through that door and see only one person. I want to see a family of people. People who remind me where I came from, how I’ve grown, and give me comfort that they will be with me for all future days. That’s what I want to see on my way home.
As my students bound about my classroom with enviable pep in their step I am always overwrought with jealousy. They have only just begun. Their whole futures are ahead of them and their options are endless. Despite the fact that I am only 23 I feel as though some of my options and decisions have already passed. My college experience has since retired, my graduate schoolwork is already half-finished and I am well on my way to becoming established in the teaching community. While I still have some monumental decisions left to make, I look upon the freedom of youth with admiration.
These little humans are so resilient and sometimes ignorant to all of life’s cruelties. I just wish I could bottle up their childhood innocence and lock the lid forever. Each year I find myself becoming more cynical and more stubborn, more aloof. The world isn’t as safe as I once imagined it. I often wish I could see the world through their little eyes for just one day, to see again that there is beauty everywhere, and not just heartache.
One of my students passed away this year in a murder-suicide. She and her mother were taken. Her father took himself shortly thereafter. My students handled this horrifying truth with such grace and maturity, of which I am still dumbfounded by. They were able to bandage up their wounds far sooner than I was, and are able to talk about her with smiles and laughter.
As a teacher I am constantly amazed by their brilliance. But, this was the most remarkable of all. Life for them is not yet cruel. Even though they were exposed to the horrors of this world far too young they are still able to see only beauty. For that, I am grateful.
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.