It's been two months since I've moved here, and although I still really miss having my family and support unit around me at all times, I've come to a couple of realizations that have spawned from my appreciation for my friends and family and everything they have given me. When I was living in Orange County with my parents, I thought I was pretty independent of them compared to almost everyone I knew who was my age and still living with their parents. I mean, with the exception of rent, I was working to pay for everything else that I wanted or needed. When I compared myself to other people, I felt like mentally and financially I definitely had what it takes to make something out of myself when I decided to throw myself three thousand miles into the middle of the ocean to live on an island. Little did I know that what I had anticipated to be an extended staycation in a tropical paradise was soon going to prove itself to be a sink or swim situation.
Out here on my own and away from all the trivial standards that have always seemed to have been inexplicably enforced upon the youth in my old society, I am realizing more and more how ridiculously silly it is for anyone to compare his or her life to that of another person. I have always been one to stress the importance of living on your own timeline regardless of how fast the hands of time were ticking in society's social time clock. When it comes to making decisions about my life, I am very secure (and at times rather stubborn) with what I want to do. However, I now realize that I still need to fully practice what I preach as far as comparing myself to others. I need to realize that maturity is not measured solely on how hard you work, how well you do in school, or how much money you make.
There is so much that goes in to determining the amount of wisdom and grace that an individual holds, and these things can be acquired in so many different ways. I thought that because I was working three different jobs and paying my own bills that I was some sort of wise and established young lady. I thought that because of the amount of hardships that I endured throughout my years that I was entitled to showers of respect and praise by default. I have realized, however, that hardships and struggles are not weighed on the same scale for everyone. What may seem like a petty situation to one person may be an overwhelming catastrophe to another depending on the person and the life they live. These are things that I realized before moving here, and I thought that I knew all there is to know about being a young woman on my own, but of course there is so much more than I foolishly assumed.
I would like to think that over the years I have grown more and more appreciative of my parents and everything they have given me; however, this experience of finally being completely on my own has really put me in their shoes and made me realize that there is so much more to being independent than just paying your bills on time. Before, the extra money that I earned went to new clothes or extravagant outings with my friends. Now, anything extra that I earn is designated to ensure that I will still have a roof over my head with running water and electricity for the next month. Living with my parents, it seemed as though everything, from my home to my education, was all at my disposal. Now I understand the reason why my dad has always stressed the importance of being...not frugal, but practical with my money. I think that being out here has also opened my eyes to just how valuable my education really is considering how I am the one who now has to pay my own way through school.
My education has always been a coveted blessing that I will always be so grateful to receive; but the value that I hold on it now is so much more than it has been before considering how I am mainly working to pay for my tuition because I don't have much in loans, and my parents are not supporting me through this almost rebellious decision to go to school out here. I told my coworkers, "I didn't move three thousand miles out here to get a B average." I thought that came out rather snooty, but that was when it hit me. As I was saying that I realized, I'm actually here living out the life I wanted to live, and I better make the most out of this experience because otherwise the tears I shed as I longed for my friends and family would be futile if I come back with nothing to show for my prolonged absence.
Now, more than ever, I have realized that I am responsible and accountable for everything I want, need, and own. This realization of how it's all on me from here on out is not so much a scolding of how "the pressure is on", so much as it an eye opener to seeing life as the bigger picture with every action playing a significant role that brings every course of my life together in the end of one long journey. It is encouraging to realize that my actions and efforts will never be futile, but rather beneficial in the long run. I am grateful that, growing up, my parents guided me well yet they still managed to allow me to find my way on my own using the guidance they provided me with. Amidst the chaos of conformity in the Orange County bubble, I was fortunate enough to be able to hold on to myself and stay grounded enough to carry the roots of my experiences with me to live out this pivotal chapter in my life.
I know that I've probably been the worst blogger to date, but I really hope that you as my reader can find it within yourself to understand that I am still trying to settle in and find my niche in this new place, and all this exploring and searching has made it a little difficult to keep all my thoughts gathered in one place long enough to sit down and hash out a quality blog post within one sitting. Anyway, all of my recent thoughts and appreciations can be summed up by the words Jason Mraz in his song "Life is Wonderful". The song is about how everything comes from something else and that the beauty of life comes full circle. Although there have definitely been times in these past two months when I felt defeated with frustration, I had to remind myself that it takes a journey to reach a destination, and that the struggles in my life are meant to make me truly appreciate the joys that come along. I am not saying that it's going to be all sunshine and rainbows from here on out (although it really is basically all sunshine and rainbows in the sky over here most of the time), but should I ever feel defeated again, I need to remember that it takes some emptiness to know what true fulfillment is. Anyway, I put the song on here, and I encourage you to listen to it if you haven't already heard it. I really think it will make your day just that much more wonderful. :)