It’s been about a year since I did a true update on life, and I won’t lie– I’ve largely been putting it off. This isn’t so much because I’m trying to hide as much as it is my inability to line up the grand smear and mess of things that linger in overall impressions rather than identifiable feelings or thoughts.
So let me set the stage with the barest bones I have: events.
I’ve been dumped, started a new relationship, broken it off, fallen into a third, and parted ways again. I’ve gotten seven tattoos (my latest being the one pictured above), three massages, and seen one Broadway show (crammed somewhere in my near countless trips into Manhattan). I’ve bought a turntable and amassed too many records, temporarily adopted a dog, and started using essential oils. I bought an old car, sold it, and started leasing a new one. I started taking antidepressants, got back into counseling, found a mentor, left counseling, and started getting counseling from my mentor (who happens to be a licensed counsellor). I’m still taking the antidepressants. I’ve gotten a second job, decided it’s time to leave my first, filled out thirteen applications, had three interviews, received two offers, accepted one, and begun to work three jobs with plans to have officially left the other two as of today. I’ve travelled over 8,000 miles, dreamed of traveling more, done a lot of laughing, and done even more crying.
It’s been a busy 365-plus days, and here’s what’s changed since last year: not a lot.
For all my talk of settling in and down, I’m no better at it than I was a year ago. I have more pillows (three, actually), but two were free and I took them in knowing I’d feel no qualms donating them at the drop of a hat. I’ve routinely cleaned out my closets- I have a fresh load of mugs and trinkets to take to Goodwill tomorrow- and only have one box’s worth of random “things.” My seven crates of books are still thousands of miles away. Most of the records I own were gifts. Only last night I took pictures off my wall because having so many up made me feel uneasy— as if it were punishable for home to feel lived in.
A few months ago I finally acknowledged that I’ve been living an improper life for a long time. I looked at my two jobs, my physical health, and the mountain of worry and fear that I carry around on my back at all times, and compared them to the things I know I’m supposed to be, and who I know I truly am:
A daughter of the King and an inheritor of peace.
A mixed bouquet of wildflowers and cherry blossoms.
A logical thinker and a hopeless dreamer.
I gathered up all these explanations and names and put them on paper, starting a separate list below it of all the things keeping me from all that I am. The results have been tumultuous.
In less than thirty days I’ve tendered resignation at my two jobs (admissions counsellor for my alma mater and sales associate for a retail shop) and found a new one (at one point working all three over the same two weeks, and let me tell you that is its own special kind of hell that no one should have to endure). I’ve even had to end a few friendships along the way as well– none of its been easy, but I can promise all of it has been good. I’m taking on a reception role at a local animal shelter and humane society, and the difference in the job, my coworkers, and the lifestyle are so different from anything I’ve ever known or done before. It’s hard, often smelly, doesn’t pay well, and is somehow incredibly rewarding. I’ve taken my focus off the worry of gaining the financial and life goals being chased by my peers, and back on the things I truly love and value. I’ve started spending more time with people who share my passions and think deeply. I’ve cleared away the things that have been eating up my time and am making space for what I truly want to do: create.
As I stepped out of my office for the last time today I had a funny thought: it feels like a delayed graduation. When I last posted about life, I talked about how everything felt like it was slipping easily and nonchalantly into place: out of college, and into work, then a relationship, then a house, then more work. This chapter shift has been the exact opposite: it’s been jarring endings and sudden epiphanies. It’s been a lot of tears, a great deal of sweat, and a number of looming deadlines. I’m thankful for what this past year has been, and for the job I was given, but when I turned to look up at the 100-year-old building of brick and bells behind me, I finally had that sense of completing a heavy, weighty task, an impression that never truly arrived a year ago when I walked across that stage. It was as if leaving the place and this chapter- however rough and wonderful- behind, I was finally ready to let go. I am finally ready to graduate.
And I have.
So tonight I’ll celebrate, drinking champagne and wearing my favorite pair of old socks as I dance on my own to some old Ella Fitzgerald records, and tomorrow I’ll go to my only job, and then I’ll use my free time to write. Because that’s who I am– that’s who I’m made to be, and I’m finally stepping into that role full-time. And you know what? It feels like home.