The hardest period in life is one’s twenties. It’s a shame because you’re your most gorgeous, and you’re physically in peak condition. But it’s actually when you’re most insecure and full of self-doubt. When you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s frightening. -Helen Mirren
About a year ago, I was in New York City for an internship at a Publishing company. Overall, the actual internship was relatively boring, so much of it was just sitting around waiting for someone to tell me to do something. On my lunch breaks, I would sit outside in Union Square Park every day and eat my sad fruit in a small container. I seethed with envy at all the fashionable twenty-something women with their freshly purchased salads that reeked of a ridiculously lavish disposable income (although I was simply just assuming since, hello, who the hell can afford to buy a salad every single day? in New York City???). Considering my internship paid me a big fat bowl of nada, I was forced to choose between chips or dry shampoo. Band-aids to cover the blisters from walking EVERYWHERE? I’m splurging.
As my internship was winding down in August, I was on the phone with my mother tearfully telling her how much I just wished I could stay there instead of going back to school. I assumed I was oh so ready to be done with it and couldn’t wait to be just like these girls whom I assumed had it all (and also because I had found out my scholarship would no longer be funded and had not a single clue how I was going to pay for my senior year).
Flashforward to me coming back for my last year at LSU. I can’t tell you how good it felt to be back where I could spend money and not live in a two-inch box with no one, really, to talk to. My senior year was, without a doubt, my best year at LSU. I finally felt like I had a good group of friends, I knew my shit when it came to school, and it felt like I was comfortable where I was going in my life. I told anyone who would ask where I wanted to go (New York) and what I wanted to do (Publishing). I couldn’t wait to graduate and be done with college and school work. On to the real world where there’s no homework and you get paid full-time!
Ever hear that stupid, annoying, saying that goes something like, “life happens when you’re making other plans?” My dad said that to me once after I told him my plans and I laughed in his face like I was the one who knew better. Well ha-ha to myself because life happened and things (not surprisingly) didn’t go like I thought they would. The job I thought I would have until I decided to move suddenly wasn’t scheduling me enough and I was worried about how much money I would have saved by the time I actually wanted to move. On my downtime, which was more often than I wanted, I applied to every Publishing company I could think of and for every job I thought I would even almost qualify for, to no avail. I revamped my resume three times, wrote a new cover letter (with help from my mom) and then wrote ANOTHER one, catering to each different company while also appealing to a more creative side of myself, to no avail.
As my timeline started getting pushed further and further, I took a hard, long, stressful, look at myself and what I really wanted out of life. Would it really be so awful if I didn’t go to New York? Why was I so adamant about being there? There’s a part of me that thinks staying in the South is a form of cruel and unusual torture and that only boring people stay here. I wanted more out of life than just staying in one place forever, never really moving anywhere else. I love New York and hope to maybe live there one day, but a part of me only wanted to move there to prove something to the people in my past who thought I wasn’t good enough. The other half of me put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself to be successful immediately so it wouldn’t look like I got an English degree for nothing.
Something that I hate, hate, hate¡¡¡ about myself is my knee-jerk reaction to turn my nose up at certain things thinking I know myself completely at 22 and could never write or live in this certain place etc. I tend to lose sight of things that would make me happy because I assume immediately that I would hate them. Truth? I’m changing a lot and I’m only 22 and there’s a lot of stuff I’m trying to figure out at this weird stage in my life. This blog was inspired by my realization that I don’t actually have it all figured out, and the things I want change OFTEN. I’ve found that writing is something I actually really enjoy and it took me until now to figure that out. Who knows what the hell else I don’t know about myself! I’ve still got like 80 years left to figure it out (that sounds like a long time to live but I eat salad, like, a lot and I run like 4 times a month AT LEAST)! It’s nice to have plans for life as I still try to do, but in the meantime I’m trying to be cool with just a “pla” for my life. Maybe see where that takes me and focus more on, ya know, doing that thing I hear people talking about called being happy!