life lessons

Is this real life? Not at all…

It’s been three weeks since I moved to a new city, a new state, a “new” job, and a new way of life. A more independent way of life. A “big girl” life where bills visit my mailbox, the apartment doesn’t stay clean on it’s own (thank you, Mom!), and the outside world is suddenly on my doorstep, ready or not.

Three weeks since I started this new chapter of my life, starring myself & Jayders. Three weeks since I paid for my first month’s rent + down payments + pet fees. And in two days, rent will be due again. Hello life.

I’ve learned some things about myself since moving away from my family, my friends, my hometown, and everything familiar & comfortable to me. I guess that happens when you step out of your comfort zone, but then I can’t say for sure that what I was living in WAS my so-called “comfort zone.” It seems so natural to say that your hometown is where your heart is, where you know the street names, streetlights, and places where the cops sit to catch speeders, where your old high school friends acquaintances return to settle down with families & careers. I remember an incident in my freshman year, during a history class. Some students were having a discussion about moving away and how they couldn’t wait to get away from that small, crappy, boring town. A guy suddenly spoke up louder than the rest: “Why wouldn’t you want to stay? You know where everything is….” etc. etc. I remember my internal reaction to this statement being, “He doesn’t get it.” Even though at that point in my life I had no confidence in myself and was pretty convinced I wouldn’t want to move anywhere else because of my fear of the unknown. But that’s what my gut told me.

While I only have a short three weeks between my “old” life and the life I’m living right now, I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that I’ve changed, grown into a different person.  I can’t imagine going back to living the way I was in Iowa. By that I think I mean living under the expectations [real or perceived only by myself & yes that is a trick statement], the pressure [again, same], the questioning [not necessarily bad, but irritating after a while], the drama [mostly family stuff]. It might sound cliche to say that I needed to get away from my hometown because it held (holds?) too much ‘bad’ history for me, personally. Or maybe saying that I felt stifled there, among everybody and everything, is a better way to put it. I don’t know. All I know and am slowly starting to understand is that being away from home, away from anything and everything I know, has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel more free to be myself and listen to my own wants, needs, & gut instincts without worrying about what others think, what my parents would expect, what I *should* be doing.

So. Here are some things I’ve learned, realized, been struck stupid by, since moving away from home:

  • You really can get another sandwich [or stuffed kong] out of a supposedly empty peanut butter jar (sorry for all the times I discarded the “empty” PB jar, Dad!)
  • I really don’t need/care to have a t.v. This might seem obvious to those who knew me well but I figured that I’d be some what put off by not having a t.v. around, just because there has always been one around… yes, faulty logic, but still.
  • I’m more independent than I thought. By that I mean independent is something I am. I think it was covered and hidden by all my insecurities and fears throughout the years. I never really believed in myself or had confidence in my abilities, always relying on someone else to back me up or take the lead. But now that I’ve grown and realized that “It’s all in what you believe” I have had a mass adjustment to my thinking (perhaps this might show that a bit). That could be an entire blog post in itself – including the subheading of “No one is coming/No one cares.”
  • One person generates more dishes than I thought. I have been trying to keep up with making homemade dinners (versus just frozen entrees, mac n cheese, etc.) so that adds to it.
  • Jayde has shown – so far – the marks of an exemplary apartment dog. She’s adjusted better than I had ever hoped!
  • My learning of street names & locations of certain destinations has proceeded much faster than I thought it would I can make it to work and back without using my GPS. I know what (most) streets turn into what (most) other streets. I know the rough layout of both main streets on both ‘sides’ of town. Next thing on my list is learning the relations between various streets, where they intersect, etc. so I can find the best/fastest routes to get where I’m going.
  • I have trust issues. I knew at home that I didn’t trust many people and mostly kept to myself and my family and friends. But perhaps it’s because I’m in a new city surrounded by exactly zero people I know that it has shown its true colors. I’m not just distrustful of people; I’m almost downright defensive. I’m very cautious and I always watch my back when I’m out with Jayde  (both in daylight and at night). For some reason, I’m very suspicious of people. For instance: “Why is that guy looking at me? He said hi?! What’s he saying hi for? He’s got to have an ulterior motive….” Perhaps I sound a bit paranoid, but I don’t feel paranoid, or feel as if anybody is “out to get me.” I’m just very suspicious and pretty much keep to myself.

That’s all I have for that list for now. Perhaps I’ll add more later. Anyway I have a paper that has to be done and some readings to get started on. Hopefully next time I’ll have pictures for y’all. 🙂



It’s all in what you believe

I’m 22 years old. Not old by any account, particularly when I see couples that have been married for 40, 50, 60 years. <– That is a life. [When someone says they are “old” when in actuality they are in their 30s or 40s, I can’t help but roll my eyes. If you’re “old” at age 42, what are you going to be at 82? A dinosaur? That would be interesting.]

In my 22 years of life, I did not really grasp the idea that it is MY life until roughly 3 years ago. MY life being one that I actually have the free will to make decisions without worrying about a cookie cutter approach or breaking any rules. Actually, I’m still settling into the idea of listening to my own thoughts and feelings and moving toward that feeling of happiness and contentedness when it comes to me instead of trying to figure out the correct approach, decision, etc. In other words, I’m still working on making myself happy instead of everyone around me happy. [And if there is anything I hate, it is seeing others being/feeling hurt by something I said or did.] I’m still working on not seeing the world in black or white.

Throughout these past few years, one common theme constantly made itself noticed:

It’s all in what you believe.

No matter where I turned, this statement was, and is, relevant. So when I started blogging a while back, I found it appropriate to use as my tagline.

What it means to me might be painfully obvious to most people.

It’s all in your head. Whatever you think is there, is true, is false, is whatever, then that’s what it is (whatever “it” may be). Because you make your own reality. You are shaped by lots of things but that doesn’t mean you are required to think [believe] in similar ways as your siblings, friends, or parents. Something I heard quite a bit growing up was, “I don’t believe in _______ (fill in the blank).” Some of the words or phrases that filled in the blank astounded me, because the word or phrase was plain as day to me. How could you not believe in something that was obviously very real?

[Are you starting to see a little of how my mind works? xD Welcome to the dark side.]

I took that phrase, threw it around in my head for a while, and came up with an idea that related it to more abstract things, like God, love, racism, beauty, the existence of a soul, etc. And when I came up with that, I realized that I knew very little about what to believe. Still being worried about picking the “wrong” choice (is God real?) I decided to dig a little more, research what others thought and, more importantly, WHY they thought that way. And that is what I am doing at this point in my life. I call it self-searching. Searching for answers, for what works best for me. It’s not a Google Bing thing, either, as I’m starting to realize. It is a journey that looks suspiciously like the definition of life. Welcome to the ride.