22 (still) and growing (still)

 the clash of life; work cloths vs. the shoes i wanna spend life in

the clash of life; work cloths vs. the shoes i wanna spend life in

22 (still) and growing (still).

I feel compelled to write, mostly because I haven’t written in a while but also because there’s so much stuff I’ve internalized, without a necessary outlet to release. (And I do journal but my journal doesn’t talk back to me. Ppl on the internet do.) So this is me taking a mental shit, really, on the worldwide web right now, so bear with me. (And if you’re reading this... NO IT’S NOT TOO LATE, this isn’t a Drake reference… if you’re reading this, thank you. You could be reading anything right now, your Twitter feed, the nutrition facts on the back of the spaghetti sauce you’re making for dinner, closed captions if you’re into that kinda thing, or some self-help book to get your life, but you chose to fill your time with my thoughts.)

Also. This will read a bit messy, but hey, life is messy, and I don’t have the energy to edit or any of that stuff. A girl is working a 9 to 5 now. Time is truly a scarce resource.

So. [fears][weeds][work][social-media][friends]

I’m scared. And I think this fear is really an overextension of my necessity to overthink everything. Two and a half months ago, I left upstate New York for good, FOREVER, after graduation, and I was trying, very, very hard not to cry. I’d just left this great pasta place in Syracuse and was feeling AMAZING, you know, I just graduated from college, the bar tender didn’t card me, my nephew wasn’t crying for his mommy or daddy the whole time, my divorced parents were actually in the same room together, getting along...and things were great, until the works washed over me. I’m driving past fields and fields of nothing in Rochester, NY tears just incessantly coming, trying not to let my dad and grandmother hear me bawling in the back seat. Have you ever tried silent crying? Not. Easy.

College was over. For my entire life, I knew exactly what was coming next. After first grade is second grade. After eighth grade is high school. You graduate high school and go to college. (Or maybe you don’t because school isn’t for everyone.) And this time, all of a sudden, I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a cliff… in the dark. And I have absolutely no idea what anything is like beyond the jump. (Feels more like a push… to jump is to choose, and do we really have a choice in life?) And with that, came this anxiety over being 22 years old. Because at 25, I’m supposed to have my life together. And 28 or 30, I’m supposed be excelling at my job with a fine, money-making husband, a LEED-certified home with compostable toilets, and kids on the way because my womanly organs don’t produce eggs forever. (I’m exaggerating here, obviously, but you catch my drift.)

Life, it feels, is getting too serious. EVERYTHING COUNTS from here on out and that’s really scary to me; adulthood has a rope lassoed around me and is aggressively pulling me in. Meanwhile, I just wanna sleep in til 10 am, take 2 months of vacation to Costa Rica to actually learn how to surf, talk for 6 hours instead of 2 with friends, eat Harold's from Hyde Park by the lake, and go out until 4 am on a Tuesday night. Is that too much to ask for? Real life says “yes Dejah, it is too much to ask for” because obviously, none of that is happening for me at the moment.

What else?

You know, this past year, I’ve learned… what you water, grows.

(And I know this because my dad was pissed at me two weeks ago because I killed his Home Depot flowers by not watering them.)

What you water, grows.

Sounds a bit cliche, especially given my interest in growing food but get past all of that and let that really sink in. For a very long time, I’ve been giving more attention than I need to, to thoughts, people, and things that just are NOT IT, for me. I’m watering weeds. And if you know anything about weeds, (just look outside) they grow unfettered. They compete and take away from the beneficial things growing in your life. (One prime example; everything I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs; my fear and anxiety over the future.)

And since we’re talking about weeds, I’ve been away from social media (SM) (well Instagram and Snapchat) for about 8 months now. (With the occasional log in to check out Hannah Bronfman’s page for workout/body inspiration or see what my friends who I don’t see damn near every day, are up to.) I started on January 1st, with an initial goal to pull myself away from the black hole for a month, just a month. Until a month was up and everything about my life, my mental state, my self-awareness, and self-confidence flourished because I wasn’t on social media. Intentionality. Awareness about the way I engage and interact with other people. Realizing the Pavlov experiment taking place when the first thought that came to my mind while seeing Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua was to post it for the world (okay my few hundred followers) to see, I had to change something about my SM usage. Our life, our experiences, have become commodified, a package we perfectly wrap to garner likes to make ourselves feel validated. The parties, the traveling, the friends, everything we want people to see about our lives that just isn’t a true reflection of life. I’m not shitting on your or your Instagram habits. As a critical person who has been taught to analyze everything (you know, my job description lists me as an Analyst), I just have to think more about how I’m affected by the things I unconsciously utilize.

And speaking of job descriptions, I’M EMPLOYED. Wohoooooo. Cheers.

I started working full-time on July 9th. I am happy to say I am not selling my soul to some corporation that’s ruining the environment. Or other people’s lives. And if you are… rethink your values or donate a portion of your paycheck to someone actually doing some good in the world. Money isn’t everything and if you think it is, reference the line up; rethink your values. I will keep this short by saying that while I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do, and quote on quote have the job I dreamed of having a year ago, the structure of work life has quite an adjustment. Taking the train with the real adults. (Keep hanging out, gonna end up turning into one.) Working in an office building. (Although the 43rd floor is preeeetty nice.) Working very structured hours from 9 - 5. (I AM A NINE TO FIVER WHAT IS LIFE, I’m supposed to be taking water samples on a research vessel in the middle of the Pacific somewhere. In Teva's.) Alls I’m gonna say is, working full-time is like nothing I’ve ever done. Well because it’s nothing I’ve ever done before. I’ve been in a committed 18-year relationship with school all this time.

And finally. I will stop all of this and end by saying. There are times when I’m driving at 10 pm (2 hours past the time when I should be home because me and my friends all talk wayyyyy too much) and February 3rd or Lost & Found is playing and I’m on the brink of tears (I swear, I am not a crier, life has actually made me a v cold person) and I cannot help but be aware of how genuinely happy I am. Happy to be home in Chicago. And most importantly, happy to be home with my friends, which is what this paragraph is all about. My friends are some of the most beautiful (inside and out) and inspiring and smart and creative and passionate and funny and TALKATIVE people that I know. And I am reminded of the beauty in friendship when it works out. I love you all, all of my friends who are both near me and across the country. If you are smiling or feeling emotional u know who u are. I’m not sure I could do this life (endure this life) if it weren’t for you all.

With that, I have cut off a tiny piece of my soul (like 1/265th of it, my soul is pretty big) and laid it out here on the internet for you. Don’t take life for granted. Love people. Love yourself. Read books. Drink water. I haven’t been drinking enough and definitely feel it.