Spring is a time for change and rebirth: not just for nature but for humans as well. As the flowers bloom and the birds begin to chirp, we find a shift in ourselves as well. For some, it’s participating in Lent or renewing a gym membership for the forever-envied #bikinibody (note to self: any body is a #bikinibody) and for others it’s breaking up with significant others or graduating from school. For whatever reason, spring’s symbolism almost directly reflects into our lives, whether we recognize it or not.
The last few months for me have been an immediate translation of this. I turned twenty-two, got a new piercing, decided I wanted to go back to school, and I ended a long-term relationship with a man that I loved deeply. And maybe — just maybe — it’s something in the air, but I feel as if I’m more grounded and in control of my life than I have been in years.
I’ve kept it no secret on here that I struggle with my mental health. From a young age I’ve been battling my own demons and this last year has been one of the toughest of my life, but if I could come out of it alive (spoiler: I did), then I truly believe I can conquer almost anything.
It’s not just that I was somehow able to push through 2018, but I emerged from it much stronger, more mature, and increasingly more self-aware. Now more than ever, I know who I was in my darkest times, who I am now, and who I want to be in the future. This has sparked a lot of changes for me.
And I’m learning more and more to embrace these inevitable changes.
As a very Type-A person, change scares me: I always have a plan and I don’t like to stray far off the beaten path. I, like most of you I’m sure, have always nonchalantly chimed “que sera sera” whenever something minutely inconvenienced me, but when something more significant approaches, I tend to shy away from the uncharted territory.
Leaving Chapel Hill, and ultimately deciding not to return, was the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life… and it nearly broke me. In the matter of hours, my life-plan of nearly ten years was thrown into a pit and for months I kept throwing dirt on top of it. It wasn’t until after months of therapy, self-reflection, and more bouts of anxiety attacks and depressive episodes than I can count, that I finally decided to embrace the decision and all that came with it, and was actually okay with it.
That’s the difference in waving away a quick que sera sera and actually embracing change. It usually takes longer than a simple shrug of the shoulders and it usually requires a hell of a lot more energy than an non-empathetic “oh well.”
I didn’t realize how much I had actually grown from this until Mother’s Day rolled around: the day all of my friends and classmates graduated. The day I was supposed to graduate. For months, I had begun mentally preparing myself for all the Facebook posts and Instagram pictures. I kept telling myself that I would just shut it all out and ignore it, but I didn’t.
I found myself hanging up my friends’ graduation announcements and excitedly commenting on their graduation posts. I thought their successes would be reminders of my so-called failures, but they weren’t. I was unexpectedly not at all phased. That’s when I knew it was time to dig those memories out of their pit.
Not coincidentally, I’m sure, this is around the same time I ended things with my boyfriend of almost three years. It was something I had been grappling with for months at this point. Naturally, I had a ton of anxiety at the thought of not being with him anymore and I experienced a lot of guilt. He and I grew closer in this last year than we had ever been, and a large part of that was due to the fact that he was my strongest support system.
But I managed to grow so much in this last year that I began to feel like an entirely different person with a completely different outlook on life than I’d had when I was twenty-one or twenty or nineteen, when I first met him. Over the course of a couple months and after many drinks with friends, I finally accepted the fact that, even though he had been a large part of my life for so long and I cared for him unequivocally, that it would be in my best interest to end things with him.
I find it completely un-ironic that I would make a decision like this after a year of life-altering decisions.
I thought that breaking up with him would be one of the harder things I would have to do, but it surprisingly wasn’t. This wasn’t because I didn’t love him, but because I had learned to embrace change — and find the positives in seemingly dim situations.
The last month for me has had its up’s and down’s. I’ve had a lot of alone time which has allowed me to focus on myself and what I love to do. I’ve done a lot of embarrassing things that I wish I could take back. But I’m finally feeling like myself again for the first time since, well, ever.
That’s the crazy thing about life: it likes to fuck around with us. We can be in a great spot and suddenly be forced down on our knees and we’re made to believe that we just have to “deal with it.” In a way, this is true, but it doesn’t mean completely burying it until we’ve spun out of control. I’ve been slowly but surely figuring out how to be an adult — and I’m sure I’ll still be figuring it out when I’m eighty — but I know a large component of adulting is learning to actually embrace change with open arms and a smile, instead of fear of the unknown.
As a Hermione Granger-classified Type A, though, I have to admit that it gives me reassurance to know of the constants in my life, the things that will never change, and for those I know of two.
The first is writing: my love and passion for writing. I’ve had several hobbies and interests over the years, but the one that has always been there has been writing. The sound of a keyboard clicking, the feel of pen-to-paper contact, and the emotional pouring of mind to script still give me the same excitement I experienced as a child.
The other is myself. I heard someone say recently: “We always have ourselves. We are born alone and we die alone.” Though it sounds morbid, it’s true: at the end of the day, we really only completely have ourselves, and that will never change.
So go do something you love today, and do it for you.
Image Courtesy of: Pixabay