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Friday, May 5, 2017

Pause.


I find it so hard to believe that I have actually completed my third year of college. Word on the street is that I am officially a senior now. This is it, the real world truly is opened up and mandatory for entrance in just one speedy year. It's so funny. When we hit high school we are warned to take caution, that time goes so quickly. I am really starting to think that all of those people that warned little sixteen year old me to never blink were onto something.

I feel as though I was just a senior in high school. I mean, yes, three years really isn't THAT long in the grand scheme of things. But, what a difference three years can make. Sometimes a semi vivid memory comes to me and I try so hard to remember who I was three years ago. That girl is becoming more and more distant with each new day. I'd like to believe this is for the best.

A person really can grow a lot in three tiny years. In our day to day life we are constantly going. We evolve, shift, sink, and enhance without even knowing it. It takes a moment of solitude and reflection to realize who you have become (and who you still want to become).

So, here I am, on this Thursday night in an empty downtown Chicago apartment with a glass of wine on the floor next to me and music playing faintly in the background, ready to reflect and discover how far I have come.


  • Chicago has become my new home. This is something that still excites me and makes me proud to say. Whenever I decided to come to Chicago for school I had no idea what to expect. Living in a big city had been a far off dream for me that I never knew if I could reach. When sharing with others what my post graduation plans were, I was showered with love and support by most, questioned by some, but almost always left with a comment such as "Oh, you are going to be such a big city girl!" If I look around at my life right now in too much detail I almost get goosebumps remembering that people said that to me. I've done it. I've become the "big city girl" that I had always wanted to be. The city has not only forced me to thrive but allowed me to thrive. I am creating experiences and opportunities each day that I never would have been close to getting had I stayed where I was raised. For me, leaving my hometown was the greatest leap of faith I could have taken. It is thrilling to see what my life looks like because of moving to Chicago, and knowing it doesn't stop here. Along with leaving the nest, I have become an avid traveler and blossom more with each trip, big or small, I take. This summer I will be spending a whole month living in New York City while working an internship. I am overjoyed with gratefulness and ecstatic at all of the possibilities that the future holds solely based off of a change of location when I was eighteen years old.
  • I have lost my filter (in a good way). I have realized that being kind and loving towards others doesn't mean sacrificing all of my joy and sanity for them. I have learned that it is perfectly okay to say "no, thank you" and not feel bad about it. I have also become a voice of reason amongst myself and those around me. I can spot a fake personality or intention from a mile away and have vowed to not be that. I am who I am. I say what I think. Not to upset others or come across as rude, but quite the opposite. Our world is filled with far too many fake, twisted, filtered beings that we need more raw and honest thoughts exchanging amongst us. 
  • I've learned what it means to be healthy. Throughout high school I was not educated on what overall health and wellness has the possibility to be. That really caught up with me my freshmen year of college. Suddenly I was lonely, stressed, sad and turned to food in order to cope with those pains. I came home for winter break not feeling like myself at all. That's when I took initiative to take care of myself. It has still been an up and down roller coaster of failures and success. But, I am human. I listen to my body daily and do my best to nourish it and treat it how it wishes to be treated. I have learned what foods and drinks cause major digestive dysfunction and have developed ways to not miss those foods. My taste buds have shifted immensely and cooking has become a soothing hobby of mine. I have taught myself to enjoy exercise. I've discovered how great I feel during and after a hard workout. Most importantly, I have started accepting that how my body feels is much more important than how it looks in a mirror. 
  • I am the closest that I have ever been with my family. I believe the phrase "distance makes the heart grow fonder" is only true in certain circumstances. As far as my relationship with my family goes, it is one hundred percent true. I have always been very close and open with all members of my family. I was raised in a very tight knit household where love was always well-abounding. Since moving eight hours away from home, my relationships with all of my family members have evolved into some of the strongest and most tender relationships I have had my whole life. It is so beautiful to watch your family grow up. My brother and I have become adults together. We now hang out as friends and have a new bond that I never imagined would happen. He is now ENGAGED to a stunning sweetheart that has become one of my close friends as well. When our whole family is together now, it is a handful of adults socializing and creating memories. My parents, brother and future sister in law have transformed into some of my best friends and THAT is something I should be so very thankful for.
  • I have developed a love (and dire need) for coffee. This one may seem ridiculous. But hear me out... My love for this hot (or cold) beverage started when I went off to school. I think my brother had the biggest impact in forming this addiction. He taught me what really good coffee is and the beautiful art it holds. You see, I think that there is something so charming about a cup of coffee bringing two or more people together. The amount of "coffee dates" I have gone on with friends and family members over the past three years proves that a mug of a perfectly crafted pour over can have a far greater effect on you than a little caffeine buzz. I have shared insanely gorgeous conversations, constructed my own unmanageable vent sessions, and also have tried my best to summon up some advice for some of life's biggest pits all during coffee dates. So many of my greatest relationships and friendships have been strengthened because of a single trip to a local coffee shop. I wouldn't exchange those trips for anything.
  • I am a proud single pringle. To all of the friends and family and acquaintances from my hometown that have been dying for answers the past three years, here you are: No, I am not dating anyone. No, I haven't dated anyone since coming to college. Yes, all of those handsome men in the pictures I post are just my friends. Yes, most of them are gay. No, I am not sad about any of this. In fact, this has been the best thing for me. It's true. The root of all of these changes I have reflected on, is that I have finally been able to be me. Without having the distraction or the attachment of a boyfriend, I have been able to solely focus on myself and my dreams and passions. It has been thrilling! The strong, determined, driven, independent person that I am today is the kind of girl I looked up to when I was seventeen years old. I pour my time and energy into my friendships, my career, my own mental and physical health. I don't mind, in fact I need, time spent by myself at a coffee shop or running errands. I have flourished to be who I always wanted to be because of this phase of singlehood. Of course, I am going to be ecstatic when the perfect man enters my world and I'll be able to share this beautiful life with him. I like to stay busy though, especially when I wait for something. So, while I'm waiting for him to barge into my life, I am taking care of me and living the life I've always dreamed of.
So, there she is. Who I am today. Now, all of this was not to boast or come across as prideful and wait for praises to come flooding in. Not at all, actually. I hope you, whoever you are that so kindly just skimmed through my words, take some time to reflect on your own life. How have you grown in three years? I can almost guarantee you that you have in some way. Press the pause button for just a second, and see how far you have come and how much further you can go. It's riveting. Truly. 

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