I'm going to try to avoid the sentimental shit that I'll probably end up writing anyway, so just bear with me here.
It's been a week shy of a year since I moved to Chicago. It's weird. It feels like more of a landmark than the one-year-out-of-college anniversary did. I moved here without any idea of what I would do with myself. I knew that I had sixteen hundred dollars and a few friends out here to help me along. The money's pretty much gone, although I've made a little bit back. The friends have stayed, save for Laurie (who I wish didn't have to go back because I miss her like crazy).
I was talking to Janna a few nights ago about this last year. She asked me if I felt like I was "older and wiser" than I was a year ago. I told her then that I felt younger and dumber than I did last August. I think if she asked me the same question last night, I would have given her a different answer. It's a cliché, of course, but I feel like I was thrown into adulthood without any idea of what to do. I still don't know what to do. I don't know how to be an adult and I catch myself feeling like I'm playing dress-up and I'm sure that everyone else around me is completely aware of how insecure I feel. I seem to always be the youngest person in the room, no matter where I am, which is odd because a couple of weeks ago I thought that, at twenty-three, I'd start to feel a little bit older (but I was thankful that I'm not turning twenty-four in September because that is old). A few months ago I kept having panic attacks about my age, thinking that I'd be a failure if I didn't make something of myself by the time I was thirty. I realize now how ridiculous that idea is.
This past month has been a living hell for me, as if I was in my car on the way to adulthood, driving ninety miles an hour, only to discover that "adulthood" is actually just a big brick wall in the middle of the road. I had to go home and see everything I grew up with at a different angle – an angle that was from a higher elevation than before. I saw my family in different lights, realized how everyone else is growing old, too. The trip home sealed the deal for me: there's nothing back there for me and it's no longer home. I’m not going to eventually settle there, and thankfully my family understands that.
I've come to think of myself as a more independent person lately. I've been thinking a lot about past and present friendships. I realize that I shouldn't, and will no longer, put more stock into relationships with other people than others are willing to contribute, because I'll just end up bitter, exhausted, and poor. When I do find myself in good friendships, though, I find myself to be extremely grateful, satisfied, and rewarded.
I'm glad I have a (mostly) definite plan for the first part of my tour though graduate school. I'm extremely thankful that my job has the benefits that it offers. It may have taken much too long for me to get it, and it may not be the most exciting work, but it was worth the wait and worth the monotony.
I think one thing I want to look forward to in the next year is the opportunity for optimism. I've decided that I really can't let shit get me down anymore. I think that the move into a new apartment has helped me see that. It was hell getting here; there was an incredible amount of stress that drove me absolutely mad. But the crazy is this: I'm here now. I'm so goddamn happy with the place despite the very minor flaws. I feel like all of that trouble was actually worth it. Like the job situation, the apartment worked out perfectly. I think that it serves as a lesson: when things start piling up, and I start to worry about things, I need to just sit back, breathe, and chill out. When situations and other people start to bother me, I'm just going to say Fuck It and let it go. There's no sense in making myself sick over bullshit like that.
It's so funny to think that the move is what sparked all of this, but I honestly think that's what it is. This new apartment is just what I needed: a fresh, brand new space.
But I am kind of pissed that Bravo isn’t on the cable lineup.