I will be 22 in 2 days shy of a months time and I already feel like I’m 40 years old, minus a family and the white picket fence that is all supposed to come with the “American Dream.”
I am finishing up my BA and my graduation date is visible but not quite within my grasp. I have served at bars and restaurants through my first 3 years of college while still living at home and I dreamed of nothing but the independence of living out on my own. I even ended my long-term relationship because I wanted to be free.
Free to live. Free to fail and make mistakes. Freedom is what I craved in all aspects of the word.
Freedom is what I got.
Not even the smallest part of me regrets any of these decisions. I have a beautiful home with a great friend, the greatest friend I’ve ever known. I work one full-time job and two-part time jobs; all while attending college online full-time. I’m used to people looking at me like I’m insane when they ask me what I do for a living but the truth is, I love it. I love being so busy that I barely have time for anything or anyone, for that matter.
I love being able to be selfish.
That may sound awful, but I have spent the majority of my life looking out for everyone else first; helping everyone else first, even at the expense of my own wants/needs. I’ve wasted time in relationships/friendships that were either toxic or that I just grew out of. I kept them around for the security and out of fear of the unknown. But now that I am experiencing life as a free, single woman and I don’t even want to entertain the idea of a relationship. For the sake of complete honesty, this is partly because of this & partly because of an unexpected whirlwind that swept me up & threw me down.. Hard. (You had me at hello.) As someone who has spent the better part of her adolescent in a few long-term relationships (some a bit more mature than others,) I had never really entertained the idea of purposely staying single until I realized the numerous possibilities of being a single woman; living and providing for herself – answering to no one else – striving every day for personal happiness and the feeling satisfaction in setting and accomplishing her own goals. The idea of moving out on my own for the very first time with my last serious partner, eventually getting married and settling down without getting the chance to actually live absolutely terrified me.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t listen to my head and my gut.
My point is that there is nothing wrong with thinking of yourself. Everyone should have the beautiful experience of crossing a threshold in their lives where they figure themselves out (multiple times!!) and learn who they really are – then keep learning as you grow and change. This requires alone time. A lesson I am still learning. I see myself as a mother one day, calming down my fast-paced “day-to-day” and focusing my energy on the dreams of my children. My hopes & dreams will be centered around watching them achieve their hopes & dreams but right now, I want to focus on my own goals, my own dreams, even if I haven’t completely discovered them yet. I can’t help guide or lead anyone if I haven’t taken the opportunity to explore, grow, and make my own mistakes.
I don’t want to wake up one day wishing that I lived my life.