Over the years I have written in half-filled journals, my pen filled with worry and excitement and frustration. It’s my personal time capsule.
Today someone posted about their impending graduation and I remembered that almost one year ago I graduated college. I looked through my journal, one year back, to April 22, 2015. One year ago today, I was worried about being liked. I was worried that my friends didn’t understand me because of an incident that had happened where a close friend had gotten mad at me for talking about my personal experiences. They were mad at me for trying to share my past.
The very next day, April 23, 2015, I contemplated starting a blog. I didn’t know if I wanted it to be a travel blog or a book review blog or maybe something else entirely.
Rewind to a week earlier, April 11, 2015, I wrote about deciding to pick love. By the end of my college career I was losing my shit. Completely and totally losing my shit. To most people I seemed fine. I did my school work. I planned my future. I went to bars and restaurants and movies with my friends. I laughed. I showered and ate and functioned but on the inside I was screaming. I was screaming because I was in the final semester of my undergraduate career.
In one month I would be leaving my comfortable college life to live with my boyfriend of many, many years. I had to figure out how to make money and be a somewhat productive citizen while dealing with the quirks of his unusual lifestyle due to his profession. His job entails going from job to job, city to city, state to state, and he loves it. And I love him. We had been long distance for far too long and I knew that graduation would be a big day, not just in my academic career but in my love life as well. In life you have to choose what you build up, put stock in, and try to grow. You actively choose what you want to cultivate because you can’t cultivate it all. So I decided to pick love and that day in April, I decided to document it.
It wasn’t easy. Last year, in April, I didn’t know which state I would live in starting the day after graduation. I didn’t know if I would be good at freelance writing. I didn’t know if my long distance relationship would last. I didn’t know if my friends would still keep in touch after I was long gone. And most of all, I didn’t know how I would forge a path in this world.
I only knew three things.
The first was that I was willing to bet on love. I knew what I had to do even though it scared me and I wasn’t sure what would happen. I was taking a leap and all the way to the cliff I was hyperventilating.
The second thing, which I repeated to myself, was that, “I am a smart person. I am a capable person.” I reasoned that no matter what, I would always be smart and capable enough to think myself out of whatever situation I got myself in. If freelance writing didn’t work, I told myself that I would find something else. If my relationship didn’t work, I would be ok too. I decided that yes I would choose love but I would also believe in myself too. I would believe that no matter what happened I would be ok.
The third thing is that I always have family. I have family to help me and care about me. I will have family if I make a million bucks or one. I have family who have helped me to become a smart, capable person. The reason I am willing to jump head first towards love is because I have family who taught me how to love and care and hope.
In my time capsule, I often see the same themes. I worry if I will ever be a novelist. I worry about how I am going to leave a mark in this world. I worry about my personal relationships and what the people around me think about me. I worry about the future because I just want so badly to get it all right. These themes show up year after year and when I read them I smile because I still identify with the worry but I also know how it all turned out.
Sometimes friends leave you and sometimes you leave them. I’ve said and done some things that I’m not proud of and I’ve lost some friends that I thought would still be here one year later. The sad part is, there’s still memories I want to share, memories of me and them, but I’m still afraid that they’ll get mad at me for it.
As for love, I’m still glad I chose it. One year later and I’m still in love. Last week I got a little sick and all I wanted was potato soup and a Caesar salad from Panera. He came home with medicine, the salad, and two soups because he knows that one potato soup is never enough. When all the worry is going around in my head, he’s still the person that I tell it all to. He’s my person.
One year later and I still don’t know how I’m going to make my mark in this world. I don’t know if I’ll ever see my novel on the shelves. I’m pretty sure a year from now I’ll still have the same themes bouncing around in my journal.
But I do know three things.
I pick love.
I am smart. I am capable.
I will always have my family.