Here’s what I’ve learned about this thing called life in my short 23 years so far.
First off, all those plans you made? Yeah, you can kiss about 90% of them goodbye, life always has a way of making plans for you. I always thought the quote “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” was corny, but the older I get the more I realize the truth behind it. We all have plans at one point or another; plans to travel the world, plans to start a family before the age of 25, plans to move to a big city, plans to meet a friend for lunch. But you can never truly rely on your “plans” in this life. That friend you have plans to meet, could suddenly be in a car accident the morning you were supposed to see them. That relationship you were so sure would work out, could end without any warning signs and leave your heart shattered. That job you had lined up so you could finally afford to travel the world, could fall through. Truth is, you never know what sort of curveballs life is going to throw you. On the surface, of course that can be a terrifying thought, but if you look at the bigger picture, it can be truly beautiful.
Life has thrown its fair share of curveballs my way. When I was 17 I moved to Colorado to become a, let’s be real here, I had no idea what I wanted to become. But the thought of moving to Colorado sounded pretty cool, so there I was. Seventeen, extremely naive, and completely lost. The only thing I was certain of at the time, was that I loved my boyfriend more than anything, and somehow, we could make a long distance relationship work from 1,900 miles away. Let’s all laugh together. Moral of the story is, I moved back home after 3 weeks and changed the direction of my life for a boy who, 5 years later decided he didn’t love me anymore. And the sad truth is, that’s life.
It’s not a Taylor Swift song, it’s not a Nicholas Sparks movie, it’s life. And it’s painful, it sucks sometimes, and you have no control over who loves you and who leaves you. It’s not pebbles thrown at your window because they realized they can’t live without you. It’s not “happily ever after” or things gong exactly as planned. Life is messy, and love is so much messier, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.
I spent my entire adolescence in a relationship. No really, I had my first “serious” boyfriend when I was thirteen, and at 22, I still had that same boyfriend, only life had gotten in the way far too many times. See, the problem is that we’re all human. We make a million mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes hurt the ones closest to us. I grew up in a relationship. My entire self-worth and who I thought I was revolved around it. My happiness corresponded directly to how happy I felt like I could make him, and vice versa. We spent so much time trying to be whoever the other person wanted us to be, that we forgot to figure out who we were as individuals. Truth is, neither one of us had any idea who we were, and still, we’re struggling to figure it out. Relationships are hard, but being alone is harder. Not only is it lonely, but you’re solely responsible for your own happiness. There’s no one to sugar coat your feelings to make you feel better, there’s only you. At the end of the day, you have to somehow be able to look in the mirror and feel good about who you are. You have to compliment yourself, because there’s no one there to do it for you. You have to be your own hype-man, your own support system, your own person. And truth is, it’s fucking HARD. And I mean, getting up in the morning extremely hungover but you have to make it to work, kind of hard. Because you have to get through it somehow, you have to find the strength and the will power to make it through the day, alone.
Truthfully, I had “planned” to be married by age 23 and start a family soon after. I didn’t want to be an “old mom” and I always just knew I would find “the one” without any trouble. Again let’s all laugh together, shall we? I spent my 23rd birthday eating ice cream, watching bridesmaids in a pair of pajama pants I stole from my mom, completely alone. Obviously not exactly what I had planned for myself 5 years ago. You don’t plan for the love of your life to fall out of love with you, or plan a miscarriage, a loss in your family, a natural disaster destroying your home, and everything else that shakes your whole world. But these are things that will certainly happen in this thing called life. The bad comes along with the good, and that’s not something anyone can plan for.
There is good in every bad situation, and in every bad, there is good. Yin and Yang. The ebb and flow of life. These are all things I’ve had to learn immensely in the past year or so. This has been, by far, the hardest and most raw portion of my life thus far. But it’s also the first time I have truly gotten to know myself, the first time I felt what real strength is like. I had my heart shattered, then taped together a dozen times just to break a little more each time. What I’ve learned, is that sometimes when we are broken, it is best to leave the pieces behind. Trying to mend those tiny fragments of memories, people, plans you thought you had, precious moments you’ll never get back, will only hurt more tying to piece back together. Life is hard, and it’s going to break you. But marble can only be formed due to extreme pressure and uncomfortable transformation. Only through these circumstances can it become beautiful, unique, and what it was truly meant to become. The storms will pass, and you will become so much stronger through your pain. A flower does not plan to be drenched in the heaviest of rain, it simply doesn’t understand that’s the only way for it to bloom. So bloom. Grow wherever you are planted. Look for the rainbow within the shattered glass of who you thought you were. It’s always the darkest before the dawn, but I promise, the sun is rising, and eventually so will you.