It’s an unfortunate reality that things are going to change. When, why, and how aren’t always immediately obvious, but there is no changing the fact that change will occur– that’s the one rather ironic constant.
The knowledge that things will change at some point doesn’t do much to soften the blow when everything is upended. There is still a sense of being overwhelmed to some degree as we transition from one life stage to the next or we are placed in a situation and environment that are unfamiliar. Eventually we adapt. Whenever eventually decides to arrive.
In the meantime, sitting and waiting for eventually to happen is not an option. We can only struggle along and cope with the change, working toward the day when things become comfortable and controllable again. I’m waiting for that day.
At this point last year, I was just starting out as a college student. I was adjusting to post-secondary education, a change in environment, and a change in living arrangements. By January, everything had become familiar. Things were going well. April shook me up again, with a long-time relationship ending. Two months later, that relationship was set back on its feet, though others were lost.
Summer was familiar at first, working day cares at the bowling alley. Not difficult, just tedious (and boy, did I get tired of hot dogs). But interactions shifted, and definitely not for the better. The hours spent working at the lanes were fraught with tension and frustration, not easy-going and enjoyable like previous summers, and I now dreaded coming to a place where I had felt quite at home for years. It bothered me that I felt as if I was being pushed out; I had grown up there, and many of the guys were like family to me. Plus, the schedule was flexible and the money was good. Those were two things I really needed.
Nevertheless, the end of summer left me without a job, feeling banned from the lanes, and going into the school year rather stressed. I was thrown completely off kilter, with everything changing so fast, and everything being so far out of my control. While plans rarely go exactly as imagined, this had gone the complete opposite way of what I had in mind.
Now, about half-way through the semester, things are turning around. The money situation, while not spectacular, allows me to pay bills and make a few affordances. Working at the campus smoothie bar is not ideal, but it’ll do. The lanes situation hasn’t improved much. I’ve started to cast around for other social outlets. And surprisingly, they’ve been easy to find.
I’ve joined two clubs this year, the first, a brand new creative writing group on campus called WordSmiths. It’s delightful to be surrounded by people who make me feel normal, who applaud my creativity and talent much as I do theirs. It’s also constructive, not only in how it helps me to improve my writing and help others better their writing, but also in the way it’s pushed me to think– about what I enjoy and where I’d like to go with my writing. I’m excited to go to the meetings.
The other is Global Partners Society (GPS), a biweekly get together of past, current, and potential future study-abroad participants, both domestic and foreign. We discuss multicultural issues, assist foreign students in adjusting to our crazy nation, and just have a good time making friends from around the globe. It’s really cool.
Classes have also introduced me to a wide range of people, and I’ve almost been forced to come out of myself and socialize, just through the nature of the classes. Discussions make up the majority of my day, and public speaking requires more vocalization and interaction than any other class. And in rock climbing, you have to talk to other people. You’re trusting them with your lives.
Perhaps all these things have given me some new strengths, or just unlocked confidence and loquaciousness that have always been inside me. Regardless. I’ve found I’m better at communicating, even when there’s a high threat of embarrassment. And I’m finally doing things I never had the courage to do before, like asking someone who wasn’t in my social circle in high school to join me for a cup of coffee. Instead of being disappointed, we met and talked for a couple of hours, which is more than we had talked in seven years of classes together. It was definitely a personal breakthrough.
Maybe I’m finally adapting to the curveballs life has thrown me. Maybe I’m discovering who I am. Maybe I’m just growing up. Whatever it is, I kind of like it. And while things are still far from settled down and comfortable, they’re slowly getting back under control. Perhaps I won’t be waiting too much longer for eventually to arrive