Moving On

Hi Friends,

I know the schedule is kind of out the window right now and for the foreseeable future it will be… at least while I get my head on straight.

For those playing along at home, I am about to graduate with my undergraduate degree and will soon embark on my whirlwind of a career…er, internship: serving in the nonprofit sector and helping others with my communications abilities. From a financial standpoint, it isn’t the wisest choice I’ve ever made. But in terms of happiness, potential opportunity within the field down the line…it’s worth the momentary setback–if you could call it that. In any regard, it is only for the summer; come fall, should I not have a full-time position lined up with this organization, I will continue to seek employment. Full-time employment–with benefits, 2.5 kids, white picket fence, the whole shebang. Just kidding… But really, I know I can’t live in this fantasy land of wanting to do what I love and love what I do forever–especially once my student loans are due, am I right? But for now, I’m going to enjoy this opportunity.

Even though I’m excited for what’s to come, I’ve just been hit with what I’m leaving behind–not so much college itself, but my professors, colleagues, friends–the people, my current internships. All have had real impact on me the past year especially and a small part of me just wants things to stay the same a little longer (now that I actually have time to enjoy them). But alas, living in the past, in regret is not the way to go–so I will attempt to both enjoy the now (as I’ve actually done a decent-ish job of doing lately) and look to the future and the abundance of opportunities it may hold.

But all that being said, I have to tell you guys: I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for awhile. Not forever, perhaps not even a month–I don’t know, really. I just need to sort out some personal things (i.e. my life), just do some things for me, and, maybe, for once, not blog about it all. ūüôā

All in all, I am planning to return–I just don’t know when… So, until then, Friends, have a blessed, peaceful life.

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You Never Let Hard Times Get You Down

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m addicted to doing nice things for people.

Not in the literal sense. I’m not entirely certain one¬†can¬†be addicted to such things–I suppose it depends on your criteria of addiction. But I’m to the point where¬†not¬†doing nice things for others, showing kindness is…out of character for me, it feels alien. It’s like a sign I’m not doing so well.

Or maybe it’s because I do nice things I, myself, am not doing so well. I hadn’t really thought about it so extensively before.

A large part of why I do what I do adheres to Christ’s sentiment, known to many as the Golden Rule–do unto others as you would have done unto you (i.e. treat others how you want to be treated). I treat others with kindness, because, ideally, I’d like to be treated the same. Does that always happen? Most of the time, yes. But also… as I’ve gotten older and fallen further down the well into adulthood, I have discovered the world is not a genuinely happy place. Not entirely. There is so much negativity, so much hate and discontent–it hurts my heart. So, by some crazy logic that only someone like me could have, I attempt to compensate in my corner of this negative world, with my little ounce of kindness.

Plato

But that doesn’t always mean I’m genuinely feeling kind or nice. As you may recall (I mean, I never really let anyone forget it–I’m so transparent), I have anxiety, of the generalized and social sorts. And though I’ve been feeling sooooo much better in the past couple months overall, I still have my breakdowns, my bad moments (like earlier this weekend, for example…). But the thing is, I am honest about my anxiety–just not with every single person in my life. Not everyone knows about these gremlins in my head, and I forget that sometimes. All they see is the kind, thoughtful, happy, sweet girl going out of her way to do nice things for others. They don’t know about the other sides to me. And that was made apparent to me this week.

I was presenting one of my theses to my class this week (yay!) and, following the showcase, was supposed to be a discussion. But instead, I opted to lead an activity–you may have heard of it. Essentially, everyone is given a piece of paper. You write your name on the paper you are given and then that paper is passed around the room to the other participants. Every time you receive a new paper with someone else’s name written on it, you write a compliment about that person, about the owner of the paper. At the end of the activity, you will receive your paper, and will now have a page full of kind thoughts directed toward you. Is that great or what??? It’s kind of like a yearbook page… but more kind.

Most of the comments I received referred to me with the adjectives used above (e.g. kind, thoughtful, sweet). But there was one remark in particular that really caught my attention: “You never let hard times get you down.”

Oh, classmate. If only you knew.

Actually, she technically did know at the point, as I had just revealed my anxiety to everyone in the room (as it was¬† the basis for my thesis–combating anxiety in college). Yet, she still believed in this sentiment about me enough to tell me, even after my big revelation.

But that got me thinking about how others perceive me, how my continual kindness and optimism are interpreted by others. Apparently, I don’t let the tough goings in life deter me. Unfortunately, that’s not so true.

People are already burdened with so much grief in the world; I want to relieve it–at least momentarily–in any way I can. Being kind and optimistic is one way I can do that. Besides, adding my personal troubles to the pile doesn’t resolve the collective grief everyone is experiencing, it will not improve the general mood. I don’t need to deepen the burden… though, ironically, I have no problem attempting to empathize with the grief of others…

So, I’m afraid, I too, have my moments. Have my hard times. But helping others feel good, feel better is more important to me than dwelling on hard times.

After all, kindness doesn’t cost; so, just remember to be kind, regardless, because you never know what may going on in life.

Stay kind, stay blessed, Friends.

What Am I Supposed to Do?

Hi Friends!

I wanted to get this out at my usual time, buuuuuut thesising and family/fun-time prevailed. I am on deadline after all. Which doesn’t really justify why I’m writing this then… But, eh, just roll with it. I needed a break. From writing… with more writing. Yay, writing! Speaking of which…

As I am thesising and moving toward graduation–now less than a month away–I am also applying for jobs. And internships. And really any sort of employment opportunity that can get me that much closer to my dreams. What are those exactly? Whelp, if you’ve read my past blog posts pertaining to this subject, I seem to already have an idea. Or do I?

Nah, just kidding–I do. But a recent realization has somewhat challenged that idea.

To recap: I’d really love to write and to help people in whatever it is I end up doing–ideally with a nonprofit organization. Seems simple enough. Only how I envisioned using my writing skills in this realm may not align with God’s Plan for me…

Up until about a week ago I thought the communications sector (e.g. writing, graphic design, social media, audio-visual, etc.) was the route I would be taking. All my education and experience up to now has pretty much led me to this conclusion. And that’s perfectly great! I still get to write while remaining relatively versatile and still expressing my fictional organization’s mission.

But on a recent interview with an uh-MAZING nonprofit organization (like, seriously, you guys, I cannot even portray how awesome this organization is–funny enough, it is located very close to my university and I only just found out about it during my last semester. Anyway…) for an, ahem, unpaid internship position, my interviewer mentioned a grant writing job with the organization was to open up in the coming months. That got my attention pretty quickly, 1) Because it was a job, and, more importantly (to me), 2) It was a job that merged my two career ambitions. Plus, it would involve working for an organization with which I fell in love within the first few minutes of walking around the premises. And while all of these factors are great, don’t get me wrong, they aren’t exactly why I’m thinking I need to shift my career focus from general communications to grant writing (though they do play a role).

Now, hear me out: I don’t think general communications are out of the question, but this mentioning of grant writing hit me hard, hit me differently than it has in the past before. To the point where I can’t help but wonder if maybe that is what I’m ultimately supposed to be doing with my life (or maybe just for now), maybe this is what God wants for me. He hasn’t exactly explicitly told me. I haven’t felt it in my heart. But I have been praying about a sense of direction recently. A lot. And, the thing is, this isn’t the first time the prospect of grant writing has come up.

All throughout college, I have had numerous professors and classmates and potential employers encourage my pursuing a career in grant writing. It all involves writing and research and persuasion by way of emotion (pathos) and rationality (logos)–all things at which I’m fairly talented, if I do say so myself. And, best of all, I would be helping people: both those of the organization but also those who benefit from the organization. However, when this suggestion of grant writing has come up in the past, I haven’t always been the most receptive to the idea. I don’t exactly know why–I think I was a little too focused on what I thought I wanted at the start of my collegiate career, and not as welcome to alternate paths.

Well, I’m more welcoming now. Especially since I’ve actually looked more into grant writing as a career, actually uncovering all it entails instead of merely making assumptions based on its title. I mean it’s a lot like being a student: researching, writing extensive papers, using persuasion–all to meet a deadline. Only, instead of grades, your success is measured by receiving the grant for which you apply… or not. So, the repercussions are a bit more extreme. Yay, the pressure.

I don’t know if I truly am meant to do this, if this is what God wants for me. I haven’t felt it in my heart yet, and that seems to be a big deciding factor for me. But if all these people in my life are directing me toward this path, including as of late when I have been praying about direction… I can’t help but wonder… And I guess if I’m wrong, if I am just using my communication-savvy, over-analytical (sometimes) mind to read too far into this, then so be it. But at the very least, this has proved professionally enlightening.

So there’s that! Hope you’ve been having a less confusing time in life, than I, Friends. But if you have, I feel your struggle. You know, to some extent.

Have a blessed week, Friends!

Breaking My Norm

What’s this? ANOTHER surprise post? Ahhhhhh!

Whelp, since my schedule is going to be pretty hectic for the next month and a half which is not conducive to having my blog ready by my usual time, I shall compensate with random timely posts every so often. You’re welcome!

I just got done doing something crazy: I broke my norm. I did something completely out of character from my past pre-college self. Are you ready? Wait for it…

I just went to a movie. By myself. By choice. Isthatcrazyorwhat?

I know, I totally just shattered your expectations–didn’t I? I know, you’re probably thinking: LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMEE!!!!!! Quinn, you really need to re-evaluate your idea of “crazy.” But hear me out.

My idea of crazy isn’t trekking across the States by myself or jumping out of a plane (though either of those situations would totally amp up my anxiety). If anything, I’m more into the take-a-walk-by-myself-in-a-foreign-country-and-get-hustled type of crazy. But this time, no lying individuals were present, no terrible artwork. Nope.

I just went to the movies. Alone. For me. I had a date with just me.

Keep in my mind: I’m an introvert. Not only that but a very introverted introvert when it comes to the spectrum of introversion. Add to that I’m relatively independent, self-reliant, and, oh, I have social anxiety–all in all, I’m not the most fond of unnecessary social interaction. (Not that you’d know by my perma-smile whenever faced with a stranger in public. I mean, c’mon guys. I may not love socializing, but I’m not going to be rude about it. Anyways.) I don’t get out much, and up until college, embarking on a social outing¬†alone¬†would have been included in the list of my Top Fears… which is pretty weird when you consider the traits I just mentioned…

It’s just, in a place like the U.S., social life matters. Having friends,¬†extremely visible¬†friends plays a vital role in your image, in how others perceive you. Especially in the grade school years. And when I say visible, I’m not talking of the non-imaginary variety; I mean friends who go with you everywhere. And when you do spend time apart, you’re communicating with one another via message system or social media, as if to say¬†Look, everyone. Look at how social and popular I am. Yes, it is so neat how close we are.¬†

But the thing is, once you get to where I am in life–in college, about to enter that “Real World” (or maybe you realize this earlier in life, if you’re lucky)–you realize that 1) It’s really just a big facade, and 2) It’s not that important, really.¬†Looking¬†like you’re social and have friends really doesn’t matter, doesn’t compare to¬†actually having¬†genuine friends. Who may not be there to fill a physical absence, but who is always there to console my anxiety episodes, to help me think through my problems, to make me laugh uncontrollably with just a look. That is what genuine friendship looks like, and it can’t always be made clear by a physical being standing or not standing beside you.

And I guess it took me going to a movie by myself to–not realize that. No, I realized this earlier on in college, in¬†high¬†school, even. But, to be fully comfortable with the idea, to embrace it, that’s what this movie date did for me. Sure, I’ve done things by myself before, like running errands or going out to eat. I mean, I’m an introvert–I spend a lot of time by myself. But running errands and eating aren’t deemed solely social activities by society. Something like a movie is…even if it’s literally spending two hours in the dark¬†not¬†socializing (Hey! Introvert’s dream date come true! Kidding…). So this was a pretty big step for me. To not only be introverted in public, but excessively so.

After getting over the fact that I was literally the only. Single. One. in a theater full of couples (might’ve had something to do with the fact I was seeing a coming-of-age romantic comedy and it was discount night for students at the theater, but besides the point), I was pretty content with myself. I was happy with where I was, I was at peace. I was¬†comfortable. I didn’t need a friend next to me to look credible, normal. And when you have social anxiety, and are convinced everyone is always watching you, when in reality they are likely doing anything but, that’s an AMAZING feeling. Maybe it’s just the irrational, anxious part of my brain talking, but I felt like everyone around me could see I didn’t mind being so independent, so single in a room full of socialites, and were secretly in awe of me. Or something. Yeah… all in my head…

So after coming down from the high of doing a big social thing all by my big girl college self, I just wanted to document my experience for you Readers and share what I learned. Hopefully, if you are wiser than I, you’ll have already learned this lesson. If so, enjoy the review. Take pride that yet another individual has finally embraced her independence. If not, well, here’s to something new.

It’s time to break your norm, Readers.

Times Like These

It’s no secret I’ve been suffering through some copious amounts of anxiety as of late. More than I usual–and understandably so, I think. But all that came to a momentary halt when I came home from work on Friday and was greeted by my younger brother, Max–and a present. He had specially made. For me.

Let me just pause here to review for you Readers who may not be as familiar: I’ve written about Max a bit on here, but just in case you do not feel like searching through my blog’s archives for accounts of our sibling interactions, here’s the gist. Max is my younger brother whom I love with my whole heart…and who also happens to be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of Asperger Syndrome (which is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of autism). Basically, he has AS, but functions so seemingly “normal” (by society’s definition, anyway) in everyday life, passersby would likely not know he has it unless told. At the very least, he may simply come across as eccentric, but beyond that…

Asperger Syndrome and autism have made remarkable waves throughout media in recent years, so I think the general population has a decent grasp on the concepts. But, in a nutshell, autism is a developmental disorder that interferes with the ability to communicate, to interact with the outside world. Asperger Syndrome is much the same, only the interference with communicating is, I suppose you could say, to a lesser degree; as I said, AS is more high-functioning. So while someone with autism may struggle to interact with another, with the outside world, to the extent of being nonverbal (no talking), someone with Asperger’s¬†does¬†talk and interact with others, but there are conditions. Maybe they talk too much about a certain subject yet are notably silent on others. Maybe they pace back in forth while they talk. Or don’t make eye contact. Or speak in a flat, monotone voice. It all varies, case-by-case. In short? Autism folks struggle to communicate; Aspies, as well, but to a lesser degree–so much so that they are more perceivably “normal” to the rest of us… yet, not normal enough.

Back to Max’s gift. My little brother has surprised me with his behavior throughout the years. And this past weekend, he continued that trend. Individuals with Asperger’s are not typically known for their thoughtfulness; they tend to live in their own world, focusing on their perspective. I attribute it to a starring character in a movie–the person with Asperger’s takes on the main role, while everyone else serves lesser roles. Everything that happens to the former is a BIG DEAL, and is interpreted and reacted to only based upon on how said happening affects them. Seems kind of selfish, yes? But I think we’re all pretty guilty of that from time to time. In any regard, while Max exhibits this way of thinking, he also balances it out with his random bouts of thoughtfulness.

Evidence A: I’m a pretty big fan of Disney. I mean who isn’t, to some degree? I’m certainly not a fanatic by any means, but do I like the movies, the catchy songs, the overpriced theme parks? Yeah! I do. So anyways, Max is taking an art class at school this semester and I guess his teacher was giving students some free reign in their latest project and so Max sketched a detailed replica of the acclaimed Disney Castle…with the intention of giving it to me. Which he did! And Readers, let me tell you my heart became so full right then–so much that I think it promptly melted as a delayed response to the kind gesture.

Look, I know, in most other cases, with “normal” siblings, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Some siblings might be genuinely touched but not make a huge commotion out of the affair. Others might not think anything of it, limply accepting the drawing and then forget about it in the weeks to come. And there are those who may not do much of anything at all. I mean, it’s only a¬†drawing, right? Of something I only like, but not fanatically love. What’s so great about that?

Max and I are not a “normal” case (is there such a thing with any set of siblings, though?). I don’t see a measly sketch. I see tangible evidence of my dear Aspergian brother thinking of someone else. I see an act of kindness, of love, that lets me know Max loves me and thinks of me and values me. To receive that, when people with autism/Asperger’s aren’t known for their consideration or their affection, just warms me to my core.

And gives me momentary respite from my constant, nearing-graduation-anxiety. Nothing distracts you from life’s hardships quite like love…or something. And I’m thankful I’ve been granted times like this to remind me of that.

Love on, Readers.

Okay, Fine–I’m Scared

Do you remember a few posts ago, when I was so confident, so at peace with where I was in life–despite not having my future figured out beyond graduation? I remember concluding with something along the lines of, “I hope this season of peace lasts!”

It’s like I know myself so well, like I knew my unusual bout of contentment wouldn’t remain.

Now, I wasn’t being negative, just realistic. I know myself (you know, to some degree) and I worry about¬†everything. It’s just who I am–it’s side effect of anxiety, or something. So when I wasn’t worried about my lack of post-grad job, lack of calling, lack of purpose, I suspected it was only a matter of time… And I was right! Not that I wanted¬† to be…

Once I officially hit the two month mark before graduation, reality really set in for me. I’m doomed to a series of lasts with where I am in life. Er, a suspected series of lasts. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to school after all. But at the moment, I’m planning on this chapter of my life to come to a close. After I walk across the stage, receive my diploma, I will be diving into the workforce, impressing my new employer with my super awesome writing skills. Better yet, helping people in need with those writing skills… somehow. But once all that begins, I will no longer be in school. A life I’ve known for the past 17 years or so will be replaced by another. And that’s kind of daunting.

I should clarify: I’m really not that sentimental about leaving school behind, no longer being a student. Sure, these past four years have been filled with an abyss of change; I’m not the same person now as I was coming into college, that’s for sure. But I’m ready for something new; I’m ready to break free from the coddling of school and enter the real world. Ready to¬†help¬†the real world.

No, what I’m more fearful of is: I don’t know what this real world, what this new life will entail. I don’t know my path, what His plan is for me. Sure, I’ve talked about on here my ideals to write and help others and to somehow merge the two, but that’s what¬†I¬†want to do. I don’t know if that’s what I’m supposed to do, what¬†He¬†wants me to do. There’s a difference between passions and talents and callings–only in some instances do those happen to be synonymous (also known as a vocation, but I digress)–and I’m not sure my wants and abilities align with where the Lord places me. I mean I imagine He’ll interfere at some point if I’m barreling down the wrong path; I’ve prayed for Him to direct me. But so far, I’m still waiting. I’m still uncertain. And that scares me.

I don’t know what’s in store for me next. And when I hear everyone else disclose their plans following graduation, whether it be workforce (already signed on for a job) or graduate school or mission work or some other amazing Plan XYZ, how they seem to have everything all figured out, I’m led to feel… left behind, I guess. Like everyone else has their life together and I don’t. Look, I know there’s a chance they don’t, in fact, have their life together as much as they may say they do. I know comparison is detrimental–especially for someone with anxiety. But knowing that isn’t going to stop my worry, prevent me from wishing I had A Plan after I move from one phase of life to the next. I just want to know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m¬†meant¬†to do. But I don’t. And man, Readers, it’s teaching me a whole lot about patience and God’s timing.

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I actually haven’t even seen “FRIENDS,” but this seems relevant…

And if any of you Dear Readers who may be going through something similar, who are about to embark on a new time in life, who don’t know what’s next? Whelp. I feel your pain, I do. Huzzah, solidarity! I’m here, too, waiting right there with you… I guess we’ll see what happens, right?

Also, for the record, I¬†don’t¬†hope this season lasts.

From the Anxious Friend

Hey Friend,

Or at least, I hope you consider me a friend (I mean, I consider you a friend), but I’ll honestly never really know. Thanks to a not-so-friendly “friend” living in my head whom I call Anxiety.

Now, he’s (it’s a boy–don’t you know?) not so bad all the time. In a weird way, he can be kind of a blessing–but that’s a topic for another day. You, my dearest Friend, are likely to benefit more from learning about the Anxiety that you can see, the less bless-filled part of the Anxiety, the outward, crazy, clingy side of the little gremlin in my head.

Like when I call you friend…but question whether you would call me one right back.

Like when I ask for the bazillionith time whether you like me or not…because my Anxiety tells me you don’t.

Like when I phish for compliments…to assure that you truly like me like you said and have genuine reasons to be my Friend.

Like when I text you and you don’t text me back…so I stop reaching out, stop communicating altogether.

Like when you show any small sign of ignorance or dismissal in any way… I immediately assume everything you said about liking me and being my Friend is false. That I am bothering you, or have wronged you somehow, and that you no longer like me. Or, in fact, that you never did.

Because that’s what my friend Anxiety tells me. And it’s kind of hard to compete with a friend that never leaves. That’s always in your head.

Let me tell you, Friend, that no matter how many times you assure me you’re my friend, that you like me, that you think I’m AWESOME, that you assure me you saw my message–you were just busy–and I’m momentarily consoled, my Anxiety will always be there to demolish your carefully built (and re-built) reassurance. To push me off of whatever pedestal you managed to place me on. So I can return to where I was–afraid and uncertain and, well, anxious.

And let me tell you, Friend, that it BLEEPIN’ sucks.¬†A lot. My mind is constantly moving in circles moving from assurance to doubt to loneliness and depression and back again. Over and over. No matter how many times I try to combat it, no matter how many times I ask you, dear Friend, for help, my Anxiety just comes back strong, barely beaten. And he¬†never leaves. And to an extent, I’m fine with that, I’m used to it; this is my way of life, all I’ve known for as long as I can remember. As I, again, admit, there is a form of blessing in this annoying, detrimental creature¬† that lingers in my mind. But after years of living in such close proximity, I also admit–I’m tired.

I’m tired of constantly seeking affirmation from you, never being entirely satisfied with or trusting of your answer. I’m tired of confirming your intent with our friendship. I’m tired of worrying about and sometimes having downright panic attacks over seemingly¬†nothing. I’m tired of spending so much time worrying over those nothings, that I can’t focus on the present or remember the past. I’m tired, period.

Because the thing is, despite how I act toward you and I assume you must perceive me based on those actions, I¬†know¬†I’m being irrational. I know I seem clingy or unconfident (not a word, but…) or too “worrisome.” And that’s because, well, I¬†am. Thanks to the continual jabs from Anxiety. I know how my behavior and ways of thinking look. They’re silly, they make no sense. I agree… but I can’t stop it. Even when I try, Anxiety finds a way to appear, seeping into my actions, my behavior toward you. I can’t stop it. Not entirely.

Because like it or not (most days I don’t mind it so much), my Anxiety is a part of me. It is¬†not¬†me, it does¬†not¬†define me–despite how much I may talk about it or act on it–but it is a part of who I am. And has been for the majority of my life. I just wish (and maybe you do, too?) that he would move off center-stage in the play we call life–and wait in the wings for a few acts. Let someone else take the lead¬† for awhile…

But between Anxiety and me, I don’t always get as much say as I’d like. So I guess that’s part of why I have you, Friend. That is, if you call me a friend–I hope you do. I have you to remind me of my worth, to prove to me despite what my head says that we have a genuine relationship, and to help me keep Anxiety in his place… some of the time.

Look, Friend: I know I’m needy, I know I don’t make sense. I know I worry too much about things that don’t really matter. I don’t need you to tell me that. A lot of the time, I’m right there with you, I agree. I don’t need you to get it, to get me (though that is a bonus…); I just need you to be My Friend.

So thank you for that, Friend. And for what you’ve done, what you will do–all of it. Just, thank you.

Much love,

Your Quinn

The Senior Effect

I’m sure any of you who have been in school and attended for a final year and knew it was your final year had some feelings about that being the final year. For some, that might be what is coined¬†senioritis, wherein your near-completion status fuels the desire to¬†not do anything. Ever. The motivation is just not there, because you can already see the end, see what’s coming. For me, I’m not sure what to call it–it’s definitely not¬†senioritis, so I’m calling whatever-it-is-I’m-going-through The Senior Effect. Well,¬†my¬†Senior Effect. I can’t guarantee anyone will identify with this feeling, not specifically.

The Senior Effect is…weird. It doesn’t fuel or deplete my motivation, or contribute extra feelings of disdain or affection for my school. Honestly, it hasn’t really affected my actions/behavior at all. It’s more a way of thinking, I guess–a viewpoint. The Senor Effect is like a lens through which I see and interpret everything I do now and gauge what influence these things may hold–if any–toward my future.

Because I know what I know: in a few short months I’ll be finished with school, possibly forever (unless I decide to go back) and enter the working world full-time as well as the Real World (i.e. commence “adulting” on a more independent level). And I know (er, more like I¬†think¬†I know–God may totally have different plans, unbeknownst to me yet) that a lot of what I am seeing and doing will be my last. Last class. Last lecture. Last witty banter with a classmate suffering through the same lecture. Last committee meeting. Last time walking through the academic buildings of campus. Last article written for work. Last internship. Last hanging out sessions with friends (for awhile). Last months living with family. Just. Lots of lasts. And¬†knowing they are my lasts (to some extent).

And while I may be more sentimental about some of those lasts than others, the kicker is, I’m not really¬†sad¬†about any of them. Well the friends and family stuff, yeah, but the others? Not really sad, not really excited. Not scared, not anxious (well, you know), not impatient. Not anymore. I just… have this sort of peace for where I’m at right now. When I’m not stressed about writing my theses (and even then, I’m insanely excited to work on them, but I guess that’s why they tell you to focus on what interests you…). I know what’s to come yet all the uncertainty it brings and what I still have to do to get there between now and then. But I’m in a place where I’m not sprinting to get to this next chapter of my life and I’m not wistful enough to crawl in attempt to stay where I am longer. I’m just living life at its own pace, trying to focus on one day at a time. Or at least one week…

The Senior Effect is… kind of nice. It’s like the Acceptance stage in coping with Life Transition. Because I’ve definitely undergone Anxiety and Discomfort and Fear and Depression (and I’m totally making up my stages here) and all that impatience and lack of motivation that come with those at the beginning of the academic year. I mean, have you read my blog? But I’m finally in a place where I’m content with where I am. And am patiently (kind of) waiting for my next steps, for whatever God has in store.

So let’s hope I didn’t totally wreck this peace by blogging about it… Have a blessed, peaceful(ish?) week, Friends!

Life Update: Everybody Leaves

I was looking back on the posts I’ve written over the course of the past few months (a horrible mistake, really), and realized I tend to write a lot about my personal conflicts, tough decisions, and, in general inner turmoil. But I never really follow-up with, well, the follow-up to those decisions–the aftermath. Presuming you truly care, dear Reader, I plan to remedy those unresolved issues for you now.

Well… a couple of them. To the best of my ability. And also create another new non-problem problem.

For starters, my uncertain future regarding a career has marginally become less uncertain. And yet, not really. Mostly I’ve just transitioned from thinking I want to be solely a journalist or feature writer¬†to wanting to do that and aid in other communication-related mediums for a nonprofit organization. I know I definitely want to work in the nonprofit sector and with communications–mostly written, but other forms too–and that’s about it. Everything else is a bit of a blur. No particular interest in one specific cause (I have several). No particular job position that encompasses all I want to do (there are several).

But I feel called to help people, that I know. And God has given me a gift in writing (though maybe not for a personal journal-esque type blog). The obvious answer seems to be to merge the two. And if that’s wrong, I’m certain He will tell me. So I believe that whatever happens: it will be alright.

But graduation is a few short months away…

Thus, in the meantime I will be working on my theses (woot!)…and continuing my walk with God. I have continued to find ways to connect and talk with Him, growing closer in our relationship. And it has been so invigorating, heartwarming. So much of me feels ready to take that official step, to become a Christian. But the primary belief needed to be a true Christian, or Follower of Christ, puts a halt to that.

Now, I don’t¬†not¬†believe in that particular sentiment. But it’s one thing to understand, to “know” in your mind, and another to feel, to¬†know¬†in your heart. I’m still waiting for God’s gift of faith in the latter. I can feel Him leading me there, placing me directly in front of those walls blocking my path. I only see what’s directly in front of me, I know I need to climb over it all–and I even know how–but I cannot do it alone. And I haven’t had to… so far.

Trust_God

After a significant amount of internal struggle (seriously, looking back, it’s almost comical how intensive this decision was for me), I decided to remain with that beloved third Bible study–the one with the diverse teachings and eclectic community of phenomenal people. Prior to my deciding moment, I ended up confiding in the friend who introduced me to the group and, of course, God. Much like I suspected, I was shown all the good, the potential that could arise out of staying with the group but was also reminded of the liberty I had in choosing my path. So, though still hesitant, I made the choice to stay.

Several months later, I’m so glad I did. I’ve made quite a few absolutely tremendous friendships (and deepened others) out of doing so. That’s a pretty big deal for someone with GAD and SAD! These are individuals whom I haven’t known for the entirety of my life but with whom I feel comfortable discussing my most personal struggles. I come to them with anything big or small, ridiculous or… no, still pretty ridiculous conflicts, and am met with love. Love that takes place in many forms–particularly helpful insight. And from that, I have been able to more comfortably navigate my walk with God, more confidently scale those walls obstructing my path. Only now…

…I have been reminded the immediacy of this love, this love from these particular people, has a time stamp. That love and guidance–at least through the form of this group–has the potential to be taken away.

No_Friends

Okay, that is slightly dramatic. But considering my anxiety and the consequent worrisome, negative emotions, that is how I’m feeling–even if it may not be the reality of the situation. You see, the bulk of this Bible study is made up of people in similar stages of life as I: in college or graduate school or figuring out their career. And that’s great, solidarity and all that. But what follows close by? Graduating, changing jobs, moving around,¬†leaving. With graduation already looming near for several others in the study and myself, you can bet this has already been in the back of my mind for awhile. Only now…

…others in the group have already (temporarily) left–unexpectedly. Hence the time stamp. Granted, life happens. They are placed in front their own walls they need to climb over. And to focus on that, they sometimes need to turn their attention away from other things. I¬†completely¬†understand that; I was¬†just¬†there myself only a few months ago. I do not fault anyone for navigating their life so intentionally, for following God’s path.

…I just wish it could be done without physically leaving.

Now, there are plans for return–some more certain than others. But I’m still hesitant. This is going to seem like a lack of trust, a lack of faith, but whenever something like this has happened in a friendship–namely those that have felt especially close–the relationship ultimately fades into nothingness. Seriously, the few though extremely close friendship I have (aside from Bible study) have lasted as long as they have partially due to proximity. And also that little thing called intentionality–we both make the effort¬†to do life together.

Looking back, some of those friendships that dissolved were likely not meant to be, or were only necessary for that person and myself in that stage of life. God knew what we needed and placed us together, even though His intention for us wasn’t long-term. And we can never really know His entire plan. But my past experiences with close friendships have warranted some understandable hesitation with my newer relationships. With trusting that they will last despite the walls. I hope they do. I pray they do. But maybe that isn’t part of His plan… though that really would help in my walk…

OH THE AGONY OF NOT KNOWING… I’m fine.

I just need to trust Him, have faith all will happen as it should. And, in the meantime, enjoy what I have while I have it. You know, if Mr. Anxiety will let me–I mean talk about walls…

How’s that for a life update, Friends? Hope you’re having a more peace-filled life than I!

Oh, Dear

In less than 24 hours, I will embark on my final semester of college.

…er, at least, of undergraduate years…

That’s pretty amazing (read: disturbing) when you really think about it. But I’m actually¬† kind of looking forward to it, to venturing out into the “Real World”. Even though I don’t know what it will entail–what God has planned for me…

I don’t know what’s coming, but I’m eager for it. Not necessarily ready for it (are we ever), but I’m waiting with barely contained enthusiasm for His plans. When I should be focusing more on today rather than four months from now… That’s kind of hard to do when you’ve spent most of your life focusing on the future. The problem is you tend to miss out on the present. We need to work on that.

…mm. My theses are pretty much my present/now/today at the moment. But even those require some thinking ahead. Small compromise, I guess…

But with that, there’s a chance (more like a definite) I won’t be posting as regularly over the course of the next few months. I’m going to try every other week, but heading into spring, even that may be too much. I don’t know; I’ve never written an extensive senior thesis before, much less two. But I’m pretty sure there isn’t ample time for blogging (er, in my case, pouring my inner-workings out to the internet masses). So we’ll try, but shoulder shrug. I can’t worry about the future.

Because I’m focused on the now.

Or something…

Oh, dear.