in my actual own handwriting
this timing might not make sense, to look back on the year in May. But considering i still pretend i’m still in college, it feels like the end of something big.
The last year has picked me up and turned me inside out. Exactly one year ago today i was celebrating the last final exam i’d ever have to complete. Not to mention i was riding the high off of a gushingly awesome sports banquet and excited for graduation. And now i am here… in Australia… a whole year later.
Seeing all the seniors (even though they will forever be “the juniors” in my mind) doing the exact same things i was doing a year ago makes me cringe. Cringe because i’m jealous, i miss college, i realize that i now live “the real life” that i was supposed to be prepared for, and i want to go back in time. Even though i’ve had some insane adventures in the last 12 months, it doesn’t beat college. But then again, hadn’t i always dreamed of graduation and disappearing to some foreign country?
May 2014 was the single best month of my life. Like i said, i was riding the high off winning some prestigious awards and speaking in front of all the student athletes and families. Then it was senior week. Senior week wasn’t all it was hyped up to be (For my aussie friends, senior week at my uni is a week dedicated to school sanctioned drinking, bar nights, baseball games, and fancy balls before graduation).I remembered i hate dressing up.
Graduation was overrated. I wanted to be done and get out of that stupid gown. It was hot, and the overflow of human emotion not just from my family and friends but oozing from the thousands of crying moms and grads around me made me itch.
I learned that i don’t like formal things, where i feel like i need to act in a certain way. I didn’t feel proud of myself, and i didn’t feel sentimental. Graduation was definitely not life changing. It was easy.
In June i learned that i love to pour my attention and affection into people who don’t deserve it, and won’t give it back. But i do it anyways, because i’m nice.
I left home for the second summer to work at camp, but this time with my two best friends. Looking around at all the new people you’re about to spend a whole summer with is like being a kid in a candy shop. Is that weird?
I haven’t seen my friends since graduation.
July meant stress. Stress working at summer camp, getting caught up in the administrative role i took way too seriously, and often forgot why i love camp.
In July i let my little world shrink even smaller and gave someone my attention who threw it away.
The first time “real life” was actually real. I needed a job, a place to live, something, anything. Of course i waited until the last minute. The panic that hit me in August is a panic that reoccurred all year. The constant internal nagging became a real problem, always stressing me to “figure out my life”. Thankfully, i fell into a teaching job at Natures Classroom, which was a pure stroke of luck.
I said goodbye to another round of friends, knowing i would never see most of them again, but it was okay.
I haven’t put my finger on why i never seek friendship in girls, and always flock to males..
I only cried saying goodbye to one person, and it was genuine.
I found out i wasn’t exactly the stereotypical “Natures Classroom teacher”. I wasn’t particularly into nature per say, and i didn’t own any Life is Good shirts. I didn’t have hiking boots…just sneakers and i didn’t know all the different types of trees or why moss grows or ecology or anything ending in Ology to be honest. But September was nice, because it kept me in a little bubble. Going from college, to summer camp, then to working at Natures Classroom, i never had to worry about finding a place to live and going grocery shopping. I liked sleeping in a cabin and eating cafeteria food, because it coddled me as i tried my hardest to avoid any sort of commitment in terms of an apartment…a job….etc.
I loved Natures Classroom. I loved taking kids on hikes and i love living and working in that type of environment. Being busy every second of the day made me feel like i was an adult.
I stayed in this bubble for a while, pretending along with my new friends and boy to fancy, all while knowing this life was temporary.
Living day by day in a temporary place with a temporary job and temporary people who i will never see again in my life.
Flights booked to Australia, contract signed with the family i’ll work for. Just another place to exist, with an expiration date.
In October i stepped out of my body for a few hours and watched how i handled thinking two of my friends could be dead. I’m proud of my rationale in the situation. I learned a valuable lesson on how people handle their emotions in scary situations, and that people like to linger. I like to move on.
With November came a road trip down the east coast. I was absolutely pressured into it, but i don’t regret it. This was just a way for me to postpone going home. I wasn’t keen for it because not knowing where i was going to sleep every night was stressful; but we did it, and from this trip i learned that going with the flow makes will always work out. Why worry so much?
brought a trip to Chicago, and came home sad and lonely.
Reunited with my friends from college. Slapped in the face with the actualization that it will never be the same.
December also brought me the opportunity to coach high school track and field, and it was a god send. I didn’t get paid, but i was at every practice Monday through Friday at 3pm and every track meet in between. I felt useful, and i would volunteer a million more hours if i were still there. I lived vicariously through these girls, remembering how much i loved running through the halls in high school.
Things started looking up. Now that the Australia trip is in the near future, every day matters. New years was bizarre. I fell back onto an old relationship because i was lonely, even though i knew i shouldn’t.
No one wants to be with the girl who always leaves.
But i always do leave. And now i’m in Fiji, alone. I’m jetlagged, but its 90 degrees at 6AM so i get up anyways. I wish i could have stayed longer.
I arrive in Melbourne at 11pm and i have a second degree sunburn. I look like a lobster, and when i first meet the kids i wince when they hug me.
Two days later my lips start cracking and bleeding, and a week later i am able to pull my skin off in sheets 6 inches long.
Two days after that I get talked into joining my neighbors netball team.
My first whole month in Melbourne. I join a track team. I spend every single day exploring for the entire month (between the hours of 9 and 3 though). Shockingly a lot can get done between these hours! I saw everything possible and spent at least two days of every week at the beach.
In the end of February i started to panic about skin cancer. I was convinced i was spending too much time in the sun and that i was destined to get skin cancer. Now every mole looks suspicious.
Depression hit. You can only do so many things by yourself before you get lonely, ya know? Friends at home are busy with their own lives and cant always be there to facetime me and make me feel better. I thought of various ways to go home. And wrote sad blog posts. And started feeling weird living in someone else’s house, so i retreated to my bedroom most off hours.
Realization that i cant keep pushing off “real life” with temporary jobs in temporary places. Eventually i need to settle down, get an apartment, and apply for real jobs. Or go back to school. I spent two weeks of march submitting applications.
Finally started to feel comfortable. Maybe it was the track team that made me feel more at home, like i could stay here a little longer.
Maybe it was my friends and family at home insisting that i give this whole experience an honest try and stay the whole year, because there is nothing for me in the states.
Maybe it was Easter weekend that reminded me how beautiful and simple this place is, and that i actually do have friends here that would do anything for me.
Maybe I started to feel okay with truly and honestly being on my own here.
Maybe the new artwork i was making gave me something to focus on.
Maybe having cross country season start gave me a reason to stay.
Maybe i just don’t really know. Maybe this is just how my life will flow. Up and down ya know? The last year has been the definition of the saying “all over the place”. Maybe that’s just who i am. Maybe I dont have it all together like i used to, but thats okay because this is what i want.