I graduated college in May 2008. Armed with dreams and a bit of naivity about how the real world works, I was excited for more free time, the freedom to write whatever I wanted, and the knowledge that I would be living in my own apartment and could enjoy as much solitude as I wanted.
Years of education had made me think I didn't have any real free time. I felt that, without papers to write and tests to study for and three jobs to work on top of a full-load of classes, I would have all the time in the world. What I didn't realize then, and what I am starting to realize now, is that I have just as much time now as I did then.
My first year after college I was busy. I moved into an apartment and then moved out of it months later due to busted pipes. I worked a job that required the majority of my time and energy. I planned and executed a wedding in less than four months. Then I settled, or tried to settle, into my first year of marriage. Four months later we bought and moved into a new house.
I didn't really have a lot of free time then. And when I did have any free time, I had no energy to spend on writing or any real desire to write. Five years of writing papers, stories, novels and articles took away all of my desire to write. And then all I really wanted to do was absolutely nothing at all during my free time.
It's been over three years since I graduated college. We'll have lived in our house for three years this coming January. I enjoy writing again. The ideas are slowly trickling back into my head, and I'm responding by writing character profiles and outlines. I struggle with how to spend my free time and wonder how I did it all in college.
Maybe it was the lifestyle of college. Being free and knowing I could skip class whenever I wanted (which never happened - ever). Feeling like all-nighters and choosing friends and fun over an early night of sleep was expected. Knowing I could roll out of bed and head to class or work in a pair of sweatpants and a tee-shirt. But at that time, I made so much more time for everything than I do now. I chose to put effort and time into classes, into relationships, into writing, and into myself. I might not have made it to the gym each day, but I did at least attempt a work out every so often.
Today, I find myself at multiple crossroads. My job is no longer as consuming. I have time to write. And yet I still prefer to sit on the couch, watch television, and then head to bed early. I make countless excuses about how busy I am and how I just can't do everything. But it's a choice I've made - this choice on how to spend my evenings, my mornings, and my lunch breaks. Even my weekends.
I've spent a lot of time wanting things to change. Wanting to write. Wanting our house to be fixed. Willing and wishing and praying for a way to do it all. And it's a lot to take on, especially when I so desperately want balance in all aspects of my life, but it's all things I need to just take on. It's choices that need to be made of how to spend my time and my money and where to put my energy.
I'm not naive enough to think that I can do everything and do it all well. I know my schedule is more restricted now than it was when I was in college and could work before class, between classes, and then in the evenings. And I have a husband to think about as well as two dogs that want my attention and a house that seems to need to be cleaned daily. But I can do this. I can make the choices that need to be made, the sacrifice of sleep when other things take priority, and the determination/drive to make my life work for me in the way I need it to.
I still spend a lot of time comparing myself to others. And I'm trying to stop. It's a daily struggle and a daily process. This wondering of where I am compared to this person or that. This questioning of why I want some things others don't or why I have no desire to have my own children but really want to adopt or foster. And this wondering of where my life is going, what will happen in the next few months and years, when I will get close to figuring it all out, and why it seems so much is harder than I thought it would be.
And I want the answers to those wonderings. Desperately. They might be out there, too, but I am not finding them with how I am currently living my life.
So I am making choices and decisions that will impact my life. Every choice results in a response - good or bad (sometimes both). I'm prepared for the good, the bad, and the somewhere in between. I know that it might be hard living with the choices and what happens after I decide.. I'll have to be more dilligent with my time and start the day off with even more coffee. And I know it's going to be hard to remain constant with writing, motivated with working out, and determined. But I also know it will be worth it.
And I know I can do it.
Writing this blog has taught me so much. I'm not one to write about the daily ongoings of my life. I'm terrible at taking pictures to post. And I spend my time with friends enjoying the laughter rather than thinking about how it relates to a post or how I might work it into my blog.
But I've found a voice. A voice I didn't know I had. This voice talks about struggles and thoughts and all these things that are a little more serious. But this voice is helping me to peel off my layers and see the beauty in my life. It's given me a deeper understanding of my strengths.
And this voice has reminded me that I really can do anything I set my mind to. It might take me longer than some, but I've still lost 33 pounds. My house might need a lot of work still, but with curtains hung (three years later), it's turning into a home. And I might never be a mother in the traditional sense, but there's a desire there to care for children that I will one day turn into a reality.
I will never share every choice here. Some are more private. And some are harder to describe. But I'm excited right now for all the possibilities I see before me. And for all the doors, that were once sealed shut, opening because of the choices I am making.
(title from "clarity" by john mayer)