sometimes i feel like i just spent all day looking at things and not really seeing anything
** in which I ramble about the transience and imperfection of life & the odd things I picked up on and participated in this summer **
Why does everything have to end, why can’t good things last, why do I have such a difficult time transitioning to the new and accepting change . . .
The older I get, the more I realize how subject things are to change, so I have to just get better at accepting this eventual fate. Nothing is for certain, other than the certainty that everything will eventually change.
THIS SUMMER: was a brilliant and unpredictable one. Nothing spectacular really occurred, but it felt big for me. It was my first time living away from home in a non-student, I’m-possibly-actually-a-real-adult, building. I had to battle mice, cockroaches, crappy plumbing, trashy neighbors, and….I would not have had it any other way. (I couldn’t have had it any other way. I literally couldn’t afford it. Ah, to pretend I had the luxury of that choice…) Starting off in a nice place without these things wouldn’t have taught me as much. I know I’m still naive, but at least it’s a start.
THIS SUMMER: was my first couch summer. Everyone needs a couch summer. It’s humbling and startling and it forces you to grow up. Life is not perfect and glamorous all the time. Sometimes you end up sleeping on your friend’s couch and making their living room your bedroom for a few months, and that’s ok. I constantly have to remind myself of this. It’s easy to make your life look fabulous on social media. It’s easy to compare yourself to other people on social media. It’s not even a comparison to a person, if you want to get technical. It’s a comparison of profiles – the carefully composed versions of life that people are confident enough to put out there. I digress ~
THIS SUMMER: i learned and experienced different little things because I spent my time with people I normally wouldn’t have been with had I lived at home. I learned about the gym and weight lifting techniques, I learned about bar etiquette, I learned about karaoke and realized how horrible my voice sounds after a few drinks, I learned I can wake up to my own alarm for work. I learned what it felt like to be an adult, or at least got a more firm perception / understanding of adulthood. Your money just goes away to food and rent and gas, and even with less of a focus on school, you still feel tired all the time, you still feel pulled in a thousand directions at once, and you have to navigate more social issues. I’m not even at the point in my life where I pay all the bills for myself. I thought life would be easier and less stressful after school, but it’s not. Yes you operate on your own schedule, but that means you have to be responsible for yourself. There are no teachers or counselors to shove you along and motivate you.
One day when I’m 30 or 40 or 80, I wonder what I’ll think when I look back on what I’ve written now and see where my mind was. That’s one of the biggest reasons I write, to go back and see how I changed. All the little changes in your life just kind of add up and you don’t notice them all or see the big picture unless you have some kind of record to refer to.
In short, I’m more than glad to have had this couch summer. I know I made the right decision to be here, and that feels terrific. And now that it’s over, or nearly over, I’m already nostalgic for all the times gone by during these past 2.5 months.
quote of the day;
“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” -Annie Dillard
I came across this after two days of heavy Netflix-ing. But I’ve rationalized that to be okay, because I enjoyed my time doing so and I needed and deserved a break from real, adult chores. I like this quote because it’s a reminder to live in the moment and appreciate all your “lived-in moments”. If you’re always overthinking and planning about the future or stuck rethinking the past, you will literally lose your life, because you lost those days not completely invested in the present. I’m not saying you always need to be DOING something incredible to make it worthwhile (case in point, my couch potato self). Just that you should be THINKING something worthwhile to make it all count. How you spend your time every little day adds up to how you spend your whole life, so make every day count. And make it balanced (tomorrow I’m GOING TO THE GYM, DAMMIT), and make it worthwhile for yourself.
Why is it so hard to be happy for other people? why can I not separate my own feelings of bitterness and envy from their lives?
(Disclaimer: it’s definitely not, but if the title drew you in, kudos to me)
Lorde’s new album is about going thru a breakup, but it’s about so much more too. She took a really difficult experience, a heartbreak, and made it into something that she ultimately learned and benefited from. It’s about coming thru things as a stronger person, and learning about yourself, how to take care of yourself, and ultimately LOVING yourself. This is probably one of the hardest things to do (for some people? for most people?), or at least it is for me, because we are our own worst critics.
I love her as an artist for so many reasons, because she has a very firm, original sense of style and she just owns it. How she dresses, how she speaks and sings, how she looks, what her face does when she’s performing, how she dances…. But I also love her as an artist because she’s so close to me in age, and her songs and experiences are relatable to my own. She writes eloquently and poetically, but very brutally honestly about the things she’s going through at her different ages. Each album is kind of a frozen frame in time of a particular period. Her first album, Pure Heroine, covered the teenage years. Melodrama is about figuring out your place in the world as a young adult, after leaving the confines of school, leaving your parents’ side, and finding stability after significant relationships end, that is, finding stability and peace with yourself.
Good lines from this song…. These aren’t my words, but God (or should I say Lorde) are they relatable.
let’s give it a minute before we admit that we’re through
cause I remember the rush, when forever was us
when you’ve outgrown a lover, the whole world knows but you
loved you every single day, made me weak, it was real for me, yup, real for me. Now I’ll fake it every single day til I don’t need fantasy
But I still remember everything… I’ll start letting go of little things, til I’m so far away from you
In the end, people will always disappoint you. Everyone will leave. People are unpredictable. The only sure thing in life that you can count on is yourself.
I just thought of this because I have lost friends and lost touch with people who I thought would always be such a central part of my life, and then sometimes nothing really dramatic or striking happened, we just sort of grew apart. So this is a reminder to be comfortable with yourself first before anyone else.
“it really felt like me against the world, I was really isolated from people, and lonely, and I wrote this song about how you have to, kind of, learn to be your own best mate…You gotta work it out, because everyone else is probably gonna leave you at some point, if we want to get real goth, but you’ll always be there for yourself.”
And a higher quality of just the song, because it’s so good: Liability again
If someone could write a set of instructions on how to navigate your relationship with your parents through every stage of your life, that would be fantastic. The childhood and the teenage years are just a mess and very complicated and I don’t even want to get into that. These years get enough attention as it is with child psychiatry specialists and crappy daytime television talk shows.
But when the young adult years roll around, there should be more freedom and more of a benefit-of-the-doubt style guidance. Especially when the young adult is, generally, stable, healthy, and fine. I like to think I have these qualities.
Everything I do I’m figuring out for myself as I do it. I can’t give an explanation to my parents, let alone myself, as it’s happening. Generally, I’m saying “yes” to a lot of things, and I’m trying a lot of new things, because now is the time to do it. Jobs, kids, my own family – these aren’t things I have to worry about tying me down yet. I don’t know my life yet. But if it’s well enough under control, with no immediately huge, pending risks or dangers, can it just be left alone? Why is every decision that I make for me considered to be a decision made against my family? Why is it always individual vs. family? I have to make my own spot in the world. I can’t keep living up to this family version, the spot where I fit in as a child in this family unit, that my mother has in mind for me. I have to be an adult too and I have to go out there. That being said, I will always come back to my family. I will never not come back to them. They are my roots. The time that I spend away for a bit doesn’t translate to abandonment forever.
At 21, my mom was married. I think she forgets this when she looks at me, because I’m single now. But I’m also nearly 22. I think when I was in a serious relationship I was viewed as more of an adult, with a more solid future (marriage) ahead of me. It’s frustrating that my stand-alone, single self isn’t viewed with as much “adult-y ness” as my relationship-self. Additionally, there’s just always going to be a learning curve with the oldest child. Things are more lenient for my younger siblings than they were for me, and it’s frustrating to witness that at times. I imagine when my younger siblings get to be my age now, they’ll have more adult expectations and privileges than the ones I am granted now.
My mom also claims this family is falling apart, and honestly, it is. Part of that is just the nature of growing up. Everyone (all the kids, all the siblings, I mean) is going to grow into different interests and areas of expertise, so we’ll have to go where our jobs take us. It would be very rare and just weird if all our jobs were in the same place, geographically speaking.
But in other ways, we’re falling apart too. I can see it. We don’t really look out for each other. We don’t have emotional, deep communication. We don’t have kind words for each other. We’d rather fight and throw each other under the bus than stick up for each other. Maybe it’s because the issues we’re fighting over aren’t really serious yet, because we’re not old. We’re not adults (the youngest ones are high schoolers). They’re mostly over things like who ate the last ice cream sandwich, not issues of large amounts of money or disease and sickness… I think it’s also partly because we have a weak foundation with our father. And this can be traced back to his own childhood years. It’s not his fault that his upbringing was less than perfect, but it does become his fault when he refuses to now step up to the role he assumed when he got married and when he decided to have 4 kids. Like it or not, we’re here now. Just be there for us all, at least through college. Seeing mom over-supplement to make up for his lack of supplement hurts me. And there’s more I can say, but I won’t say it here. And this probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to anyone who doesn’t know me, but I had to say it nonetheless.
Moving on to the middle age years, the relationship between child and parent is not one that I am familiar with at all, so I’ll skip my questions about this for now.
And then the older adult years. I’ve seen this. In hospitals, in assisted living centers or day centers or nursing homes for the elderly, you can always tell how a parent treated their children based on how the children treat their parents later in life. There are old ladies with 11 and 12 kids in the senior center, and none of those kids come to visit. I have to believe that 1 of those 11 or 12 kids is “normal.” They can’t all be messed up… Which means if at least one of them is normal, one of them should visit. Which means if no one visits, the parent is the issue. However the parents treated their kids when they were young and in need is how they will be treated, in turn, when they are old and in need.
Or do you go to sleep at a reasonable, regular time. And can you do so without feeling guilt or regret or like you’re wasting your time by sleeping.
Some people need sleep to function. I don’t really. It’s not healthy, but I never have followed a regular sleep schedule. Probably an ok thing I guess, since the job I’m going into will entail night shifts and irregular hours and unexpected overtime depending on individual patients’ well-beings, nursing staffing numbers, etc.
But I mean it – what keeps you up at night?
What makes you go? What is the one thing, or few things, or many things that push(es) you up out of bed each morning, and makes it hard to slow down and stop to rest at night…
I’ll go first.
- I want to write a book. Not sure about what yet. Probably something to do with nursing or healthcare at first, since that’s what I know most about right now.
- I want to travel, and I want to travel everywhere.
- I want to understand the healthcare system in America better, and I want to make the appropriate access to it easier for everyone – especially with a focus on primary care for aging/older adults (Business Insider article).
I have a few secondary, back-burner goals too.
- I want to improve public education. I grew up moving every couple years as part of a military family, and the differences in public schools across different states were remarkable, and not always beneficially so.
- I want to work with animals and animal shelters.
- I want to work with young kids – show them everything they can be, what’s out there, what they can do / options they have after 12 years of school, improve their confidence and improve their balance in life (less screen time, more books, and a more well-rounded education source, not just lectures and powerpoints and old textbooks…).
- I want people to recycle more. And by that I mean I want us to be able to recycle the resources we have now on Earth. We’ve made a mess of things now but educating the public and pursuing cleaner energy sources and creating environmentally conscious laws can help to clean things up.
My goals are vaguely stated. I know that. But at least I have an idea of what they are.
I think that everyone has passions but some of us ignore them. Whatever age you are, wherever you are, and however well off you are, I encourage you to chase your passions. I don’t know that we really live in a world where you can work as whatever you want and make enough money off of that to support yourself. I wouldn’t say that the “American Dream” is a real possibility for everyone. I think it’s more about who you know, and how well you started off in life. After those factors, then how hard you’re willing to work will determine your success.
This is just a reminder to everyone that your life is valuable, and that your unique, individual passions, when pursued, have the power to change the world. Even when it’s tiring, depressing, or boring to think of the work you have ahead of you, it’s worth it to try.
Sometimes you know things about yourself but you don’t really believe them until someone else says so to you.