It has been more than two years since I last posted. Recently, I made a commitment to myself to revisit the things that once gave me joy. Writing is one of them. Monday through Friday I teach a classroom full of 10th graders how to write. The academic writing that I teach revolves around structure, format, grammar, claims, theses, etc. What I miss is the journey of narrative writing. The cracks and crevices of language that live deep beneath the surface of characters on a page. I miss the freedom of writing without a clear path in mind; not knowing where the words will take you.
For the past few years, I have allowed stability to run my life. I sought structure and routine, and in doing so, I forgot the parts of myslef that allow creativity to take hold.
A “hiatus” is defined as a pause or gap in a sequence, series or process. The two years have just been a pause, not a stop, not a standstill, just a pause. Today, I choose to resume the parts of my life that I allowed to wane. It’s never too late to revisit the parts of yourself that make you, you.
This time of year has always brought me such bliss and warmth. Nothing can compare to a piping hot cup of tea in your winter cracked hands while you sit in a room filled with the people you love. It seems like there is magic in the air as the weeks lead up to those few days and those fleeting hours are spent cozy and comfortable.
As the years go on, however, I am plagued by the notion that the traditions that me and my family know now, will not always be. My sisters and I are getting older, we are building lasting relationships with other people, and we therefore feel compelled to spend portions of the holiday season with them. No longer are the days of matching footy pajamas as we three bound up the stairs, only to lightly slumber in hopes of getting a glimpse of the man in red and white. No longer are the mornings spent ogling over the tree piled high with presents, and little nibbles from Mr. Clause’s cookies. No longer are we awake when the moon is still high in the sky and we jump on our parents bed to “wake up!” No longer are the Christmas Eve’s spent snuggled up watching “White Christmas,” and singing Christmas carols around the piano.
We are changing.
Our traditions are changing.
Part of me wishes I knew how precious those few years were of it just being the five of us. Soon my sisters will be married and have families and traditions of their own to uphold. Maybe I too will have all of those things.
But for now, I am only consumed by life’s uncertainties.
If you are in the market for testing your relationship, why don’t you try being stuck in the car for over 5 hours, and then proceed to spend the entire weekend with your extended family with zero alone time. I must say … he passed. We have been together for nearly two and a half years and this was his first go at meeting the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and the like. I admire his ability to walk into any situation where he knows nothing about anyone and come away with relationships. Me? I’m the kind of person that clings to the people that I know and seldom do I push my social boundaries and talk to someone that I don’t know. When I am around the familiar I dominate conversation and I let my outgoing nature shine. But throw in a few foreign faces and I shrivel in shyness and insecurity. He has a way with people, and a way of making you feel like you have known him for years immediately upon introduction. It wound up being a nice little weekend away with him. As he called it … it was “an adventure.”
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!
This month will mark two years with him.
Two years of patience. Two years of reliance.
This will mark not only the longest, but the most successful and the most meaningful relationship I have ever had. Neither of us have compromised the people that we are for the other. We support, boost, and embrace the people that we are. I love that about us.
People always say that there is peace in solitude. But, these past two years have been the most peaceful of my life. For me, there is peace in companionship. When I am with him the noise of it all kind of falls by the waist side. The noise is still there but it’s muted when we can work through it together.
He isn’t one to be sappy or poetic about our relationship, and if he read this he would probably roll his eyes about every other line … but that’s okay. This is my outlet. He has his. What is important is that together we can still celebrate the two people that we are and have become.
I must say … I am pretty lucky.
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.
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.