Life is currently best described as the photo below featuring myself attempting to balance three different liquids to and from school and most likely spilling at least 2/3 of them by the time we make it to the door. Messy. Crowded. Overwhelmed. Grateful to even have three types of liquids in my life to be carrying, but really wishing that I could physically see everyone else in my life attempting to do the same in order to not feel so alone in this balancing act stage of life.
To try to claim that I am the only scared to death of the future second semester senior would be an absolute lie. I’m completely aware that I am one of approximately one billion other students in their last year of formal education that is questioning anything and everything possible. Which is exactly why I decided to write this post, because I know I am not alone in my feelings, and chances are someone else who reads this needs to hear the same. So there, to start us off and calm us all down, WE AREN’T CRAZY! LIFE IS MESSY! LET’S DO IT TOGETHER!
If there was a handbook for this stage of 20-something life it would be one of those choose your own adventure ones. The kind where I always cheated on as a kid and skipped forward to see the results of the choices you were given before “choosing” one. Basically, I was cheating the system at age 8; setting myself up for failure in the future in all reality. Because in those books we are able to take a glimpse at the result of our choices like I did, before making our decisions. Real life? We don’t get those glimpses. We don’t get to be like, “okay so if I choose this I will end up in 10 years here BUT if I do that other thing I’ll get this and this…So based off of those I’m gonna go with option A.” Our choices are instead pretty much completely blind, minus the occasional gut feeling that something is just right.
I’ve been struggling with not being able to see my exact future right in front of me for about a year now. I have never been someone that needs to know my schedule far in advance, and I actually am pretty go with the flow. But there is something about this whole real adult job situation that has thrown all go with the flow out the window and introduced all kinds of please-someone-just-make-my-life-choices-for-me-so-i-don’t-have-to. I have spent lots of time letting those emotions sink in and know that a big part of that is due to my life looking a lot different than those I am surrounded by in my head. I student teach all day long and then either go to class or work and then that is on repeat all the time until May. When there is time to make decisions about my future once you throw sleeping, eating, and breathing in there…I have zero clue. Our society these days glorifies both a culture of *hustling* and in all honesty- I hate it. I hate feeling exhausted over daily routine, I hate being stressed yet still adding things to my to-do list that I most certainly don’t HAVE to do, and I hate comparing myself to my peers subconsciously to make sure they don’t think I’m lazy.
Since when are we afraid of being lazy? When did it become such a negative word? I want to reintroduce lazy as a selfish term that allows us to have five seconds to breathe and not feel guilty about It. I want lazy to mean we have free time do indulge in a hobby FOR FUN. I want to be a productive kind of lazy on a week night where I am doing my homework HOURS before the deadline (unheard of if you know me, oops, QUEEN of the 11:59pm turn-in over here.)
I have felt more exhausted the past month and a half of this semester than I thought possible, and I won’t lie, I feel downright guilty for claiming that’s how I feel. I despise telling friends and family I am exhausted because we live in this hustling world that seems to expect us to be, especially as students. I spend 8 hours a day being my happiest and *attempting* 😉 to be my most patient with 5-6 year olds. I adore it, I genuinely do. I love being there and this semester has absolutely confirmed my choice in careers through student teaching with kindergarteners. But yes, I also am exhausted after! A huge part of that is myself being an introvert and needing alone time to fuel after a day spent interacting with people all day long. I love my alone time but this year specifically have felt so guilty for It, or like I am not properly being a senior by spending my time after class making a Target run alone, or heck, sleeping by 9. (the 6am alarm thing has really taken a toll to my usually a night own sleep schedule!) I want each and every one of you reading this to know that you do not need to feel guilty or not-cool for taking time for yourself when you need It. You need to be proud of yourself when you recognize your emotions and listen to your body!
Back to the unknown for a bit, and to what the heck we should do about It. As for me, I won’t lie and say that I will be perfect at this, but I am going to try to be grateful for the unknown for just these next few months. To let myself understand patience in a way that I am so uncomfortable with, and to remind myself that my own path is my own, and it is happening the exact way it should be. Your life may look different than everyone else around you. You may feel as if you are the only one that has zero clue what they are doing. I promise you, you are not. But that’s what almost-grad / post-grad is all about; defining your own path and knowing it is yours and yours alone. You are not disappointing anybody, you do not have anything to prove to anyone, and you are allowed to be selfish while you wait for the unknown to become known.
Chances are this won’t be the last scared second semester senior chat posted, but it feels like a good first. To knowing you aren’t alone, to finding comfort in knowing that everything is already sorted out in God’s plan, and to enjoying college nights out with cheap drinks on Thursday nights while we still can.
Until next time, xoxo, Ally