Nothing lasts forever.
So a couple weeks ago I turned 23. It’s a pretty unimpressive age. There aren’t any songs (at least on my iPod) dedicated to it. There aren’t any huge milestones associated with it. It is simply a number of years that I have reached. When I stop and think about all the people who don’t get the chance to turn 23, I feel a bit more impressed with myself. Those that live in countries that aren’t prosperous enough to ensure starvation doesn’t take lives; those that are caught in desperate domestic violence situations that show no mercy for those involved; those that simply have an illness take hold of them and even through a long, draining, fight, they lose.
I didn’t write this post to get people to look at their lives and realize the wonderful, truly, truly, wonderful gift of receiving another birthday, but rather as a catalyst for people to maybe reflect on their pasts, and then proceed into thinking about how they want to go into their futures.
Like I previously said, I’m 23. I have very little life experience. I haven’t got a doctorate in anything or a life coach certification. “But what I do have is a very particular set of skills…”
Juuuuust kidding. (Liam Neeson…anyone?)
Getting to the point though…
I graduated college this past May. In exactly a week, it will have been exactly six months ago. When I started my post-secondary education, four years sounded like an eternity. I was going to a small school that everyone (except my parents) told me I was going to regret attending. Fast forward a few months and I was downright happy. I loved the social aspect, the new people, the praise I received from professors when I had actually done the reading for a class. It was all great.
Sure there were bumps in the road…girls who pulled me into their “drama.” (Girls I probably pulled into my drama.) Boys who liked me, didn’t like me, and then liked me again. Greek stuff that seriously sucked, but then didn’t anymore. College was hot and cold and confusing and it was life. I loved it. Kind of like how I felt when my high school years were over, six months ago I was terrified. What was my plan? Where was I going?
I felt like everyone else was so sure of themselves. My best friend, already married for a year, was an RN. She had already accepted a job, as had her husband. Contentment radiated from her. I could not have been more different. It sucked. Those days of waiting and wondering and not knowing.
But then it was over.
I had a job and all the pent up stress and bad juju and anger at those who I felt were ahead of me…it just sort of floated away. I was caught up in a tornado of activity. I had new to-do lists to write, check off, and throw away. I had goodbyes to say, landlords to call, co-workers to meet, and post-graduation weight to worry about losing and gaining and losing again. (I’ve all but done the losing part on that last one unfortunately…)
Now I’m here though. I’ve had my job for nearly six months. I’ve got my house, a puppy, and at the moment everything is comfortable again. I have a while to breathe and take a few days/weeks/months/years(?) to live what is now the rest of my life. But just like every other part of my life, this isn’t going to be my forever. Life changes and then goes on, and then changes again. It’s a vicious cycle we’re all involuntarily caught up in.
I may have walked you in circles to drive this point home, (stay with me here, please!) It’s not about the route you take to get somewhere. It really, really, isn’t. It’s whether you took advantage of the opportunities along the way.
Cheesy, canned, and enlightening all at the same time.
When I’ve looked back at any segmented part of my life, the only thing I want to know is whether I regret something, and of course there’s always something I wish could have gone differently, but the only things that keep me up at night are the things that I didn’t do. The family member I didn’t say “I love you too” when I had the chance. The friend I didn’t fully support during a shitty time. And yes, a boy I wasn’t fully honest with when he asked me what I thought of him.
But like I said, life happens and it moves. It isn’t tangible and able to be grabbed and kept still. Chances are given, but like a cloud of smoke, intangible. All that’s left is a trace of what was there. A dream you can’t remember when you wake up.
Shitty? Sometimes. But beautiful at the same time? Most definitely.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, give it your all. Screw excuses and screw vulnerability. If you want something and life gives you the chance to take it, you can’t turn your back. Because who knows if you’ll ever get that chance again?
Until next time or not, I’m still Cait.