Over the course of the past couple months, my life has turned topsy-turvy. I experienced a big break up, an epiphany surfaced about my job and current living arrangements, and I really got underway in my journey towards a Masters degree. To be fair, I'm in the twenty-something phase that reeks of change during the transition to adulthood. This fact doesn't make it any easier, however.
I'm not even going to lie to you, I'm scared shitless...
However, I'm also the most excited I've ever been in my life. Change can be the most liberating experience on the face of the planet. It is envigorating to be taking control of my life and determining my own future. Do I worry that I might be making some hugely wrong decisions? Sure, don't we all. But the journey is going to be one hell of a ride.
I had gotten to a place in my life where I was the most unhappy I had ever been. Life definitely could have been worse, but getting myself stuck in multiple situations that made me miserable caused so much stress that insomnia and nightmares made me a walking zombie. If you haven't been in this spot before, Congratulations! You are one of the lucky few. Unfortunately, due to the fast paced, dog eat dog world we live in, the streets are full of these sleepwalking brain suckers. I wasn't alone, I knew that. But I sure felt like it.
Which was odd, considering my boyfriend, many great friends, and the fact that I lived with my family and a full time job with 30 fellow co-workers.
As a freelance lighting designer and technician, my life had rocked, but I had no job security and no health benefits. Instead of sticking to my guns and following my dreams, I panicked, and took what I believed was the easy way out. I took a steady 9-5, continued living at home with my parents, and stayed in my comfortable but going-nowhere relationship. The only thing I did was added my schooling on top of things, which, while making me feel somewhat better about myself, only took away my small but precious social life. One day, after drowning in my 42nd ounce of coffee, the lightbulb clicked on.
To be frank, I had become a bored hermit with no connection to anything stimulating. Hence the brain sucking.
So, the incandescent popped on above my overly-caffeinated head at a time when I realized that I was not ready to surrender myself over to a life of numbness. My first step was to break the ties to my sweet but non-relationship-savvy boyfriend. The hardest part for me was hurting him, if that shows you anything about how into the relationship I was. We had been sticking band-aid upon band-aid over deep-reaching wounds, smothering it instead of giving it the air it needed to mend. The break-up came with that same quick pain of pulling the band-aids off. It also was as liberating for me as it was for the wound, and I could feel myself begin healing ever so slightly.
That night, I slept like a baby. The first real sleep I had gotten in probably half a year, if not longer.
And it AMAZED me. I almost felt human again, even throwing out my brain straw and returning to solid foods!
Not long after that, some old friends started to contact me again. Different people from different times, reaching out to little ol' me. Instead of turning these friends down, like I would have done in the days before, I found a balance of juggling school and social life. It was the best decision I have ever made. At 24, I was wasting my life away, not experiencing my time with the kind of carelessness only the young and unattached can have. I reconnected with people I had missed, and met some new friends along the way as well.
Ironically, this refreshing new pace led me back to nights of no sleep. The difference is, I'm enjoying myself now, living instead of hiding.
It is e n v i g o r a t i n g.
It also led to my two other big decisions right now- to move out on my own and to focus on following steps that will lead me more toward my desired job goals instead of focusing on safety nets. These choices have come with overwhelming frustration at times, especially with the way things are out there right now. Last I heard, even McDonald's wasn't hiring, but don't quote me on that.
Why, then, am I so overwhelmingly determined to follow these choices?
I feel alive, people! Pro-activity about one's own life is something that nobody else can take away from you. You are doing something, FOR YOU! When you finally get to where you want to be, you can say, "I did this. Me. Look at what I accomplished."
Looking back, I am astonished that I let my life get to where it was before my 24th birthday. It is so hard to see what your life is like while you are living it. However, that is the most important thing that anyone can do for themselves, especially when he/she may feel malcontent. Most of us are creatures of habit, and we get used to doing the same things because we are comfortable with them.
WARNING: DANGER AHEAD is what I have to say to that.
I'm not saying that you all should quit your jobs and go to clown school, or whatever. But I am saying that this is our time, fellow Generation Y-ers, don't spend it rising from bed, brushing your teeth, commuting to work, writing TPS reports, looking for your Red Swingline stapler, commuting home from work, eating a frozen TV dinner, brushing your teeth again, and laying awake in bed, repeat. Don't settle for comfortable; don't let the fear take you down. Take action. Maybe things will work work out right away, maybe it will take years and many failed attempts. But with failure, at least you tried, and eventually, you will find the way.
Take control of your life while you still can. It is yours, YOU should hold the reigns.
And trust me on the sunscreen...