10.07.2009

Life's Detours: Lessons and Tolls Thus Far

It's both funny and obscure to think of the distances we travel in a short amount of time. Often it feel like time goes by so slowly, but then you step back and wonder how you got to where you are. I've been in transition for two years now, and I've definitely seen my fair share of big orange signs labeled LIFE DETOUR.

I cannot skulk at the outcome so far, however. My first week into my "real world" job that the J School of Ohio University so diligently prepared me for, I've truly begun to realize effects those little bends in the road have had on me. Along the way, I wondered when that realization would set in, and though I've yet to reach the "I'm too old for this" point in my life, it's interesting to note the changes I see in myself.
I've lost my stamina. In college, I'd get up for class at 8 a.m., run across campus for lectures and meetings, drain my brain of creativity and coherent thought, study at the library or copy edit at the paper until two in the morning, chat and sip tea with dorm mates until 4 a.m. (no really, it was tea, I was a lame excuse for a college student) and started the process all over again the next day. How did we do it back then? Two years of barista-ing, traveling and the like, and I've turned to mush. It's time to build that endurance back up.

I've gained the capacity to live life alone.
I was the girl who turned into a social hypochondriac if I was sitting alone on a Tuesday night. Evil thoughts swirled around my head. Why does everyone hate me? Have I turned into that weird little blob on the social anxiety disorder commercial? I had to be busy at all times. Lunch dates. Evening engagements. Extra-curriculars. It boosted my confidence or something. Well, one year in Cambodia cured that. Now, I'll gladly redeem a day at the office for a quiet evening at home. (As long as Facebook can join, of course.)

I do not fear ambiguity.
Although college taught me lessons in expecting the unexpected, nothing could have prepared me for life the past two years. My conversation with LIFE went a little like this:
  • You want me to pour coffee for guys in suits this morning and blend icy cappuccino drinks for teeny boppers tomorrow night? Ok, I can handle that.
  • You want me to drive across the country in my barely moving vehicle and live near the beach for three months? Alright, it's risky but worth the adventure.
  • You want me to fly across the world with only a suitcase in each hand to a country where I don't speak the language and figure it all out once I land? You're crazy, but what do I have to lose.
  • You want me to sit around all day, making no contribution to the world? (Not even to my savings account?!) That, is where I draw the line, my friend.
Muscles I never knew I had were stretched and strengthened. The warm-up is over and now I'm just waiting for the real challenge.

I've gained patience. I used to be a "RESULTS NOW!" kind of girl who got her panties in a ruffle if things didn't go according to plan. Ok, maybe I'm still a little like that, but looking back up to that ambiguity thing, I've come a long way. Now I'm a "things going awry?, take a step back, breath a little, RESULTS NOW!" kind of girl. (Hey, that's improvement.)
Yes, it's cool to browse old photo albums and think about how our life's path led us to THIS exact spot. And when things start seeming tough (like you spend 8 hours at the office messing with a finicky content management system), you can think that this is just another one of life's detours, and keep on trucking. I especially love to keep in mind this quote I found via naturally nina from an unknown source:
"As you journey through life, choose your destinations well, but do not hurry there. Avoid the shortcuts... wander the back roads... enjoy the scenery. And remember that the true worth of your travels lies not in the destination but in who you come to be along the way."
So life is sorta tough at the moment (like the whole wanting to crash at 8 p.m. thing), but as Emily mentioned on the last post, it can be difficult the first couple weeks, but things will get easier. Luckily, I've evolved to the point where I can endure. Cheers to that!

Thanks all for all your encouraging words along the way (via OUA and other modes of communication). If my posts seem a little sparse in the short while, don't shed a tear. I'm just passed out on the couch and will be back soon.

In the meantime, take a step back. What has life taught you in the last year? Two years? Five? TEN???

4 comments:

Emily said...

Don't fear the no stamina thing. There are nights when it's all I can do to stay up until 9 p.m. Then I think back to college where we wouldn't even THINK about going out in the evenings before 10. Yikes. (That's when I could stay out until 2 and still get up early for a 6 a.m. run.)

All I can say is: Welcome to the Old Fart's Club.


As far as life's lessons go, I'm reminded daily that I have no control over most of my life. Yes, I can make little decisions, but the final outcome is pretty much out of my hands.

Eddie D. said...

I hope you have plans to go to Keeneland on Saturday.

KBrock said...

My first couple weeks of work after the summer break were awful. You want me to wake up at 4am?? It's still dark then! But after waking up at 6am routinely for a year, I almost didn't hate it as much. You will appreciate the weekends much more than you ever did before.

alison said...

beautiful post. It's lovely when everything comes together. Glad you're still learning :)