When the past overtakes the present

Recently, I’ve talked a lot more about things that have happened to me and the way I am as a result of those occurrences. It’s hard because I know there’s plenty of paranoia and unnecessary stress that stems from ways I have been hurt in the past, and those things make it so hard to form any sort of close relationship with people without fears that it will just be a repeat of what I am used to.

It’s illogical and unfair to the amazing, caring, and understanding people I am blessed with now, and it’s something I have been working constantly to change. So often, with family, friends, and relationships, I’ve questioned my worth, questioned what others have felt, and put way more in than the other person. Because of this, I have started to close myself off. Slowly, I am opening up and understanding that others aren’t the same, but it has been difficult. I still worry about abandonment, I still become paranoid that I am bothering the people I love, and I over scrutinize everything. I’m always trying to remind myself that the people who love me will not up and leave my life without explanation, and I’ve expressed to the people close to me that that is a large fear I’ve had for a very long time, in hopes that they understand and don’t let it push them out of my life.

I either cling on to people too hard until I suffocate them or I distance myself and push them away. Neither of these are fully conscious actions, but at the same time, I know at least a bit that it is happening (though sometimes I need to step back to see it).

The thought of leaving home is only making this worse, and I have been struggling to explain it to the people who care about me, mostly because I don’t want it to make it seem like I don’t trust them. I trust that they would never intentionally hurt me, but that doesn’t erase the the paranoia that nags the back of my head.

I’m single for many reasons, but one of those reasons is because of how I get. I can’t even maintain friendships without needing constant reassurance, so how could I ever be in a relationship with someone? I don’t know, I’ve just been overthinking this for the past few weeks and talking about it a few days ago made me start thinking more about it.

If any of my friends see this (shoutout to the ones who get emails when I post), thank you for tolerating me. I love and appreciate you more than you know, and your patience is something I value greatly.

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family.

I don’t associate with much of my family, and I don’t know what many of the people I used to be surrounded with when I was younger are now up to. I often find myself thinking about it, about how I wish I had more people around. But, at the same time, I’m finding myself more and more thankful for where I am and for who I am with. Yes, much of my family doesn’t care enough to check in with me, but that doesn’t matter in the bigger scope of things. While they aren’t around, I have so many people who love and care about me. This past year alone, I’ve met so many people who have changed my life, many of which I would consider family. And those people love me, they are proud of me, and they are the first to remind me how valuable I really am. Those people are family. Those people are who I need, and as I continue to grow and face challenges, I know that those are the people who will be by my side. They don’t have to be there, but they choose to be, and that means more than I could ever express.

Closed off, opened up

I don’t like opening up.

OK, actually it’s just hard. I love opening up. I love sitting down with someone who cares about me and letting everything out. I’m a talker and I love to share what is on my mind and hear what is on the minds of the people I love. But it isn’t easy for me. After more let downs from people I have trusted than I can count, being vulnerable is terrifying. I don’t often put myself in vulnerable places and I usually keep things to myself, both good and bad.

It’s hard being good to people, open with people, only to be kicked to the side, forgotten or, worse, have what you’ve said and done thrown back at you. I’ve been on the defense for quite a while, but this past year intensified that closed off attitude even more. A lot happened, much of which I don’t care to revisit, that made me put even more of a guard up than I already had.

But, I think I am finally learning to let that guard down, to let people I love in and to understand that not everyone is bad and not all people have ill intentions. I’ve had my fair share of let downs, I’ve lost people I thought I would have forever, and I have put trust and effort into people who most definitely didn’t deserve it, but that doesn’t mean I need to close myself off forever.

Recently, I’ve begun to realize that there are good, genuine people. While I scaled back my efforts with people and swore off ever allowing myself to fully let people in or putting someone above myself, I see now that I don’t need to do that. Not everyone is deserving of my love and not everyone will see my worth and value, but the ones who do make me want to open up, make me want to share what I am feeling, and make me want to be myself without fears that they might eventually hurt me. Getting hurt is inevitable and people leave, yes, but the right ones will be there and the right ones will make all the difference when things haven’t been great.

I have so much love to give and I am so grateful to have people I can give that love to without fears I might be making a mistake.

Another little adventure

Three months from now, I will be beginnning Army basic training.

That sentence still surprises me a bit, and I know it came as a major shock to many people in my life. I practically have my whole life set: I have a job at a major television news station in my city, I just graduated college, I’m working on some journalism and photography projects. Yet, basically out of nowhere, I up and joined the National Guard.

But, as sporadic as it seemed, it wasn’t really all that random. Since I was in high school, I have dreamed of joining the military, but I didn’t follow through. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t because the path I took brought me so many amazing people and experiences. That path taught me tons, allowed me to do things I had once only dreamed of, and led me to many wonderful places, including a career that I am happy to have (and a career that everyone told me would not work for me). And now, I get to add a new experience on top of all that without losing that; I get to live both of my dreams.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous or scared. I’m terrified. I don’t know what to expect. I know it’s going to be a challenge that is going to push me, both mentally and physically. I know it will be difficult and I know it will be pretty damn miserable. Yet I am so excited. I am the kind of person who is always chasing more, who always wants to do and accomplish more, and this seems like a pretty good step to take after graduating college. About a year and a half ago, I thought I had my life all planned out — it was a pretty good plan too — but life is weird, life is wild, and life worked itself out in a way that was even better than what I had intended on doing.

To an extent, it was sporadic, yes, but that’s only because I knew that if I didn’t jump right in, I would give up. I would talk myself out of it. I would let myself down. And as scared and uncertain I am, I didn’t want that to happen. And I am happy I did that. I feel good about where I am and I am looking forward to what the future holds.

Here’s to another adventure in this journey. Hopefully it’s a good one.

No coincidences, no meaningless moments

Everything in this life has a reason.

I sometimes allow myself to question life, to ask why, to wonder why things don’t feel right or become upset with the obstacles I am facing or the path I am challenged by. But, more and more each day I am learning that nothing is a coincidence or without purpose. Every person I meet, every hurdle I encounter, every day I experience has reason. Life is a big, tangled web of moments that connect together for a greater reason.

The older I get, the easier it is to see how everything, the little things, the small actions and decisions, the conversations and the people all tie together. Where I am now was no accident, but rather the result of a series of moments that all came together. Likewise, where I am going and where I will end up won’t be random. What choices I am making today, tomorrow, each time I get up, are all making the future. The words and actions today, no matter how tiny, could lead to something far more than I could ever imagine.

Such a notion isn’t easy to always accept right in the moment, but looking back has allowed me to see how it all works out, how life is going to be what it is supposed to be and how it sorts itself out, even when nothing makes sense. It might not make sense now or tomorrow or a year from now, but eventually it will all be completely clear.

I could run through the pieces of the puzzle that have led to where I am at this point in my life, but that would take far too long. In short, the littlest of things have been the most impacting and important of things to occur. What was confusing a year ago no longer leads me to question it. What happened when I was trying to figure it all out is so easy to understand now.

Still, I do not have it all figured out and probably never will, but I am now comfortable with trusting life and going with it, even with it seems really stressful and scary. Fear held me back from many things. I am ready to take leaps and not let fear guide my journey. There’s so much I need to see, do, and accomplish, and I am going to do it all. I would be lying to say I will be living completely without fear, because that is unrealistic, but I won’t be letting those fears about the unknown or the fear I may fail keep me from avoiding life.

Life is about enjoying each moment and letting those moments lead to better things, each day.

It’s all about the journey

I always thought I was headed somewhere and when I got there, I would be happy and everything would fall into place. I think that being in college added to that notion — I was under the impression that I would get through school, graduate, find a job and life would begin there. However, I was wrong, and I am really starting to realize it now.

Life is about each day. There is no destination, and today is what is important. Tomorrow doesn’t matter until tomorrow and to focus on anything but now is pointless. I’m at a point, a point I got to fairly recently, where I am seeing that I need to live my life in a way that makes me happy right now. For far too long, I put off life. I told myself, “maybe later,” I figured I had plenty of time to chase my goals, to adventure, to live, but I wasn’t going to be an active participant in my life until after. That was a stupid mindset to have, and now more than ever, I am set on embracing every single day, hour, minute for what it is and making it what it can be, rather than wasting time, dreaming and forgetting, thinking “what if?”

I do not want to look back on my life and regret what I didn’t do or wish I had spent my days doing something else. I refuse to be content and I refuse to let myself stay in a position that isn’t bettering me. Life is too short to be miserable and the future is too uncertain to not make the most of it right now. If life isn’t fulfilling me, I am setting out to do what I need to do to find that fulfillment.

I am learning to gain knowledge from my mistakes, to not only accept shortfalls and bumps in the road, but to find the positives in them.  I am understanding more and more that everything, every single thing that happens, has a reason, even if it’s not immediately obvious. Life has played out in a way that is too crazy for it to ever just be coincidence. I am getting better at putting faith into the unknown, forgetting the risk, and looking at the benefits. I have lived a pretty full life for being only 22, but I have also lived a life full of fear, doubt, and negative self-talk. I cannot and will not keep living life in that manner. This life, what I do, where I go, is my choice and mine alone.

There’s no guarantee that tomorrow will ever come, so why live in a way that doesn’t reflect that? Everything, every little bit of this life matters, and I am finally starting to live like that.

Life’s funny like that

A few weeks ago, an old friend I haven’t seen in about 14 years commented on one of my posts on social media. We made plans to meet up the next week, but they fell through. A week later, we sporadically decided to meet up one night after work. I was happy because from the conversations we’d had over the past week, it seemed like we had a lot in common. Still, I was nervous things might be at least some degree of awkward. I mean, we hadn’t talked to each other since we were maybe 8 years old.

But things weren’t awkward, not in the slightest. We hit it off almost immediately — there was such an instant connection between us. While we’re on different career paths, we both have the same drive and motivation when going after our passions. We both have the same love of adventure and nature, and in general, we just get along really well. You know when you meet someone and you just know that person is going to be a significant part of your life? That happened.

I can’t remember the last time I met someone who I could just talk to like that. It’s like speaking to an old friend (I mean, that is what it is). Today, we dove into a conversation about things I rarely speak about, not to family, hardly to close friends. Over the past year, I’ve really guarded myself and I don’t like letting people in, especially new people, but she’s one of those people you can just talk to. Unless you’re counting how long we’ve known each other since we were children, we are basically strangers, yet I feel like she gets me and where I’m coming from, what I’m struggling with, where I’m headed, what I’m after.

I am so thankful that our paths reconnected and we have so much in common. She couldn’t have walked back into my life at a more perfect time because right now, I’m in such a process of tweaking my life so that I can achieve my goals, while overcoming things that have been in my way for far too long.

I could probably write way more, and I probably will late, but anyhow…

The way this life works will never fail to amaze me, but I am certainly not going to complain. I’ve been extremely blessed in this life, and reuniting with her was one of those important blessings.