I’ve had a few things on my mind that I believe will be best expressed by writing them down.
First, it’s the time of year when I reflect on my growth over the past year and evaluate whether I’ve changed, for better or for worse. I just celebrated my 22nd birthday and I suddenly felt old. Now, I know that I’m young still, especially in the grand scheme of things. But I feel as though I need to have more figured out about my life at this point. I mean I graduate in 20 weeks (not that I’m counting) and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I’ve been looking for jobs and considering what field I want to attempt to enter into in May and I begin to panic a little bit. I have no where near the experience I need for the jobs I really want and yet, no one is willing to give me the experience that I need. I want to stay in Colorado because all of my loved ones are here, but the job market for writing/editing in Denver is slim. Paralegals need even more experience to get a job and my enthusiasm for law school has dropped significantly. What’s a girl to do??
I realized something else right around my birthday that led me to believe that I have truly started growing up. At one time, I prided myself on being able to cut down someone emotionally. I thought I was tough because I had no problem hurting someone’s feelings. And while I am probably still able to do that, I no longer have the desire to. I will absolutely stand up for myself when need be, but I’ve learned how to fight fairly, and productively. I’ve learned that building someone up and focusing on their strengths, feels so much better than tearing someone down and exploiting their weaknesses. I’ve learned that no matter how hard I try, my insecurities will always get the best of me when I’m feeling low. When my mind won’t turn off and I create false dilemmas in my brain, it will always come down to my insecurities. It’s hard to even admit that my insecurities are as powerful as they are. And sure I could play the blame game and say it’s because of Boy X or Bully Y, but that doesn’t matter to me anymore. What good does that do? Blaming someone else doesn’t help me get over the insecurities. Putting someone down doesn’t make me any bigger.
I’ve learned that you can never fully appreciate everything your parents do and have done for you until you live on your own and realize that they were right when they said that money, in fact, does not grow on trees. And that a home cooked meal beats going out to dinner any day of the week. I understand now why adults say, “They grow up so fast” just by watching my nephews grow. I’ve learned that sometimes the plans you had for life, don’t work out the exact way you pictured. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on them. Sometimes it can act as a way of reevaluating; taking a step back and asking yourself if this is really what you wanted. I’ve learned that the person you love the most, will drive you crazy. They will bring out the best in you, the you that you wish you could be all the time. And they will bring out the worst in you. The you that you don’t even want to admit to being. The selfish, overbearing, clingy, jealous and of course, insecure person that you yourself can’t even stand. And sometimes, hormones or stress just exacerbate the problem. And that if they stay with you when you act that way, you need to remember that when they act that way. That’s what love is. At the end of the day, if you want to be with someone, be with them. And remember, actions speak louder than words, so show them that you want to be with them.
I’ve learned that when we’re growing up we are so focused on ourselves and getting older that we forget that our parents are aging. I think I’ve seen my parents as 40 years old for the past 15 years. Now suddenly, they’re talking about when they get too old to walk up and down stairs everyday and their worsening health problems and for the first time, I find myself worrying about my parents. That’s not to say I never worried about them when I was younger, I just never understood the aging process or the severity of the problems that we face when we get older. I find myself praying for my parents first at night — for their health, their happiness and their financial security, another wish I never knew to wish for when I was younger.
And lastly, I’ve learned that I do not need anyone’s approval but my own. You will never be able to please everyone so don’t even try. I try to think about whether or not my childhood self would be happy with the person I’ve grown up to be. When you’re a child, you have ideas about what you want to look like, who you want to surround yourself with, and who you want to be when you’re a grown up. I am happy with who I am and I’m not hurting anyone in the process and that’s all that matters to me.