I disagree intently with many parenting methods, mostly those involving sheltering offspring from the dangers of the outside world. I believe that people should be put in situations that make them uncomfortable, because then they won’t be as alarmed the next time they are put into that situation, and they will have a better grasping of how to handle it. Protecting a person from the real world is not protecting them at all; it only makes it more difficult for that person to adapt. I know this because I was sheltered as a young child – societally unkempt, as some might say. I am only now learning and experiencing things that I wish I had experienced sooner. Now, that’s not to suggest that my home life was perfect, since that is far from true. But when I hear stories of these children who have gone through childhood traumas, I wish I could have experienced something of the like – not because I’m a masochist, but because those experiences make you a stronger person and show you the dangers and difficulties in life, forcing you to adapt to them. I’ve begun to endure that reality throughout this past year, but otherwise my prior years have made life seem… easy, when it in fact is not. People need to know the world they live in, and you can’t pretend stuff isn’t happening when it is.
In this blog, I’d like to embark on a personal rollercoaster with you, whoever may be reading. The past few blogs I’ve made have been less about my life and more about controversial topics. This is because ever sinceCivil War, things have been static (despite some small fluctuations). Thus, I’ve had very little to reflect on, other than my past, and I felt it best to discuss things that I myself contemplated – things that may not always be right, but nonetheless things that propel me to think about something. Perhaps I think too much – I have been alone for a significant amount of time, mind you – but I think that I’m better off trying to understand things rather than sitting by hoping that one day I’ll never have to question myself. Ah, hope – the one thing I’ve been in a constant conflict with. I’ve written many blogs about it. Hell, I wrote a paper about it for school, if you can believe that. I’ve quite questioned why people search for hope, and I’ve realized that people need something to help them feel better – to feel like everything is going to be okay. It’s a way of coping, perhaps. I thought that I’d lost hope when I moved to Florida, because my momentum right out of graduation didn’t just slow down – it completely halted. For many months, I continued to reflect on my past, and I was reminded of what great memories came from an otherwise desolate timeline. But then I realized something; it wasn’t a loss of hope that I was feeling. It was a feeling of change that I didn’t know how to cope with.
Let’s backtrack to one year ago. Getting my first job last November was probably one of the best highlights so far in my life, even above graduation in a certain respect. Looking back, I won’t say that I miss it. I can’t say that, because it’s an experience unlike any that I had before it. What I’ve realized is that you don’t necessarily miss your past life, but sometimes you become uncomfortable with change, so much to the point where you miss being back in a comfortable state. However, as you become accustomed to new environments, your comfort zone gradually expands. Thus, by the time you move on to the third job, you may find yourself missing your second rather than your first, and so on. This of course is simply an observation on my end, but there’s more to it than that. I may look back and miss some of the good times I had – or, more particularly, the people I made friends with – but I wouldn’t want to go back to it. I personally embrace change, even though it is admittedly uncomfortable, especially with a change as big as the events of this past year. I enjoyed myself because I was comfortable. But sometimes comfort isn’t the best thing to strive for. The reality is that you can never go back to exactly the way things were, and that you need to constantly focus on what’s in front of you instead of what’s behind. Missing something is part of what makes it a great memory.
Fast-forwarding to this past May, everything felt like it was in place. This is the month I had quit my first job, and graduated high school. But in my head, I knew that this was the end of many things, since we were to move to Florida the first week of June. However, it’s easy to envision something in your head and still end up feeling completely different than you otherwise thought you might. In other words, thinking about what it will be like living in Florida is not the same thing as living in Florida. Even though anticipations may be realistic, it’s like reading a book in a way. You can read a story and understand it, possibly even relating to it. But unless you are in that exact scenario, you’ll never truly know what it feels like. This is why many authors use their experiences to write literature (myself included). Their writing is influenced by their experiences, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. But for some, it isn’t about the story – it’s about what can be gained from that story. And that’s something to be explored, because what we ultimately gain from something can tell us a lot about the way in which we think and feel.
I spent most of my summer alone. I briefly described this in Ashes and Anguish, though I will go slightly more in detail. Coming out of graduation, I was hyped to get started with the next chapter of my life. But by the time I actually got here and settled, well, we weren’t really settled at all. While my parents agreed not to agree on anything (since they were three states apart), I minded my own business, which basically meant sitting and surviving. Mind you, I valued the time I spent alone, because it allowed me to reflect on things. I did reach a point of utter sadness, and while I won’t dismiss that, I also won’t spend too much time talking about it. The important thing is that I didn’t have anybody there to comfort me but myself and the people I knew online (basically just you guys). I had to come to terms with the fact that there was little I could do. By this, I’m referring to school and work, and the rest of my future. Sure, I could find a job (which I finally got last month), and apply for college (which I did and got accepted), but that didn’t fix the long-term problems. See, we’re living in a house we don’t own or pay rent for, because it’s owned by my mom’s uncle who is letting us stay here for free temporarily. We’ve hardly unpacked anything because we have to move out of it.
I mentioned that I do indeed have a job now, at Starbucks. I searched long and hard over two months just for this specific job, and while it caused a lot of domestic issues mostly regarding my dad, I’m now working at a place that I love, and I’m regularly seeing people again for the first time since high school. I don’t have any friends yet, but it’s a slow process and a fast environment. In regards to school, while I currently don’t yet know how that will pan out, I am all set to start in January. Finances, however, I have not yet figured out. I’ve applied for many scholarships, and have done everything I can do in terms of financial aid. I’m still working on that, but I also know it may not go as smoothly as I’d like to think. I am in an associate of arts transfer program, which basically means that in two years I transfer to an actual university anywhere. This is huge, because it sets a time frame concerning when I will move out and finally start to work on my own path. But I try not to be naïve. I’ve stated above that you can’t really understand an experience until you’ve experienced it yourself. And, while that’s true, you can still be smart about what to expect and thus how to prepare for it. Having said that, I know that moving out (even if just to university for a start) brings about lots of expenses, and lots of responsibility. I plan to work on that plan between now and then, and not get too ahead of myself. But there’s still a lingering problem.
We can’t stay here, because we can’t afford the house we’re currently living in (as far as I’m aware). I’ve just started working on a new path for my life, and I would be severely disheartened if it came to the point where I’d have to dismiss that because of relocation (again). You can understand the predicament this puts me in, and what has basically been one of the biggest problems since moving here. But the problem stems from the flaws in my family’s cooperation. The reality is that we could have already been moved in and settled, back in June. But because my parents have changed their mind about this house time and time again, it has put a strain on our plans to move forward and has led us to this point. I’ll assume that anything is possible, but it would be hypocritical of me not to practice what I preach. I’m still going to move forward with what I can do, regardless of what may change. After all, it’s a big world where anything can happen. Knowing that I’m doing everything I can to conquer the challenges ahead is why I’m able to think positively instead of negatively.
Every rollercoaster is different. Some have hills and valleys, while others have loops and varying other inversions; but, all rollercoasters have one thing in common: they end up right back where they started. The great thing about life is that it is exactly like a rollercoaster – one that we determine. Sometimes we will travel up a hill, only to be back at the bottom. Sometimes we think we’re doing great, when all of a sudden a loop appears and sends us on a complete 180. The twists and turns are sometimes jerky and unsettling, but those turns eventually straighten out. The loop eventually settles back, facing forward again. And the valley eventually traverses a hill, which becomes a peak. The point here is that while life is full of loops, twists, valleys, and turns, eventually there will be a peak again. But that is dependent entirely on your mindset. For example, I just moved to Florida. This was a big change because everything I was used to was gone, and I needed to realize that I’m never going back. However, realizing that you can’t go back is part of what propels the rollercoaster forward. It isn’t about going backwards – going back up the same hill you descended from. It is instead about climbing a new hill and trying to create a new environment with which you are comfortable. And even though you might fall again and again and again, part of the ride is making the most of the experience. Some rollercoasters do travel backwards, perhaps reaching a peak and going back down the same road they originally ventured. Regardless, every rollercoaster circuit eventually completes itself before going again – much like the story of our lives, and how that story will eventually be concluded. While the rollercoaster represents our life, the point upon which it returns to the station represents the intertwining point of tranquility at which our story begins and ends – birth and death. Above all else, it’s not necessarily about how your story begins and ends; it’s about whether or not you did everything you could to overcome the trials you faced throughout that story.
The present moment is all you ever have. I’m known to reflect deeply on the past (and really everything, I suppose), but I don’t dwell on that. Sure, I look for the beauty in my past life, because there are without a doubt some people with whom I would love the opportunity to go out with tomorrow. But I also look for the flaws, not for the sake of regret (thinking about what could have been or what would have been), but rather for an incentive to better myself as a human being. I try to live every day a better person than the day prior, even if I slip sometimes. It is true that I’m quite selective with things, including what I say, how I’m dressed, or who I choose to be friends with. But it’s not because I give a damn about what other people think of me. It’s because I learn from my past experiences, and I use that to influence my behavior and judgment for the future. I am enticed to conclude this blog by saying that 2015 has been a year of constant change, be it good and bad, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without both. As I’ve done every year, a complete 2015 year review will be compiled and posted by me at the end of December which will summarize this part of the rollercoaster ride with a cherry on top. Although many elements of my future still have yet to be set, I’m content to see that at least some things are starting to come full circle.
I love you, but your attitude is like that of a shrew. Your options? Take a pill or be my kill. Might I suggest that you wear a vest. Perish in class or be banished to the land of bluegrass, where dreams don't exist as you'll be eternally pissed.
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