Friday, June 13, 2014

What I've Learned from Taking a Year Off

This past year I took some time off from attending college. Throughout the year I would see pictures of my friends at school functions and be jealous that I wasn’t in their positions. The year seemed to drag on forever, but now that I’m moving into my dorm in less than 60 days the year feels like it flew by. Whenever I would talk to my friends about my life and what I was up to they would always respond, “That is so cool!” and I was baffled by how many kids think working an “adult” job is cool. But then I realized I used to be that kid. When you’re younger the idea of having a job, no curfew, your own place, and no one to tell you what to do seems like the best thing that could happen to you. Once I was finally in that position I realized how much it sucks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very nice to be able to do what I want, but I think I would trade that for a home cooked meal by my mom any day. So for those of you that haven’t experienced living on your own or paying bills; here’s some advice:
1.       Being an Adult is Awful
I wake up every morning and go to a 9 am to 5 pm job. I go home, cook, clean, shower, and sleep. Then I repeat the process. Of course I have the ability to go places and do new activities. But I don’t. I was stuck in the same routine. What we don’t realize while we are young is that even though we may have the freedom to do whatever we want as adults, we don’t. Responsibilities get in the way. Bills get in the way. Life gets in the way. Also, you’ll finally have money and feel all fresh and cool, but do you get to buy new clothes? No, you have to spend it on new tires, a vacuum, or groceries. My advice is to never grow up. Of course, it’s inevitable that we all have to mature and have these responsibilities, but all I’m telling you is that there really isn't anything glamorous about it. Even though I’m grateful for a job, it’s helped me realize what I don’t want to do for the rest of my life. So savor those home cooked meals, free WIFI, all inclusive housing plans, and care free attitudes.
2.       Love isn’t Easy
I've learned that really nothing comes easily in life. You have to work for it. Being in a relationship with someone for a long amount of time taught me so many things about myself. I definitely learned the bad; I am jealous, I send too many texts, I’m insecure, and I don’t smile enough. But I also learned some really great things about myself; I like to make people laugh, I have a kind heart, and I’m worth it. I learned that even if you truly love someone, you can’t change them.  But not only that, you shouldn't want to change them. No matter whom you’re dating they are going to do many annoying, maddening, things, but you have to learn to see the good instead of the bad. My boyfriend happened to be a terrible communicator and that really festered inside of me for a long time, but then I realized I can’t just focus on the bad, so I started to see how smart he is instead. When he did communicate it was always bright and interesting thoughts. So my advice on love is to try to see the good in the other person. The work you put into a relationship will show.
3.       Family is Important
No matter how ready you are to fly from the nest I promise you will miss your family. I haven’t even moved out yet and I miss them. There are important reasons to miss them, like you've known them your whole life and they’re obligated to be there for you. But I think the times I will miss them most are because of the little moments. I’ll miss the smell of pumpkin in the fall, making goofy faces for the camera, watching Grey’s Anatomy with my mom, having someone ask, “What did you learn at school today?”, Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, breakfast for dinner, baking chocolate chip cookies 24/7, and so much more. So just try to realize how great your family is. We’re growing older, but so are our parents. And even though I’m ready for a new adventure; I wish I had just a little more time with them.
4.      Don’t Underestimate a Home-cooked Meal
I've stated this in the above paragraphs, but this shows you how serious I am about it. Jack in the Box’s tacos is not real food. I’m pretty sure it’s dog food slapped onto a folded greasy chip.  When all you have in your fridge is ketchup and cheese you’ll be missing those vegetables you refused to eat as a child.
5.       Things never go how you expect them to
No matter how planned out your budget is, or how detailed of a grocery list things will not go how you expect them to. Life throws you curves and it will always be that way.  
6.       Adults are just as immature as we are
Working with adults who are all 35+ I figured there wouldn't be any drama, rumors, or cliques. Wrong. Drama never ends. So if you’re thinking that after high school you won’t have to deal with that snotty girl; you’re wrong. The only thing we can do is try to be more mature than them. I know it’s hard. But try.
7.      Adults are still figuring it out too
Being Key Club President I attended monthly Kiwanis meetings (old people who like to serve the community). I was asked to stand up, introduce myself, and say what I interested in career wise. I was 17, how would I know? So I said just that, “I don’t know what I want to be”. After the meeting a gentleman came up to me and said, “Don’t worry honey, I’m 65 and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”. I’ll never forget him saying that to me. So whenever you get scared just picture the ominous old man with his philosophical words and feel a little better.
I realize this list isn't very inspirational, and you probably are googling “Never Land” right now, but it isn't all bad. I promise we are all going to be okay. Even though the bills, deadlines, and jobs might sucks it’s still what you make of it. And the people who are by your side make it every bit worth it.

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