One Year In

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve written on here. Of course, I didn’t have many readers to begin with, but still, to the three of you I’ve disappointed: I’m sorry, and I intend to do better.

To my main point, I’ve now been out in the world, left mostly to my own devices, for a year. I could say I have changed, but it would be more accurate to say that I have progressed along the journey of being the person I was already. Some of the results were unexpected, if only because of my naive optimism.

Any of you remember going into a semester with wildly unrealistic expectations of how this time things were going to be different, and how you’d be all organized and amazing? I did that pretty much every semester, even though I was always wrong.

But I didn’t realize that in all my daydreams about what it was going to be like when I moved out, I was doing the same thing. I’m learning that the only way to change is to do it slowly. One habit at a time.

That wasn’t easy to accept, given that I’d held onto my lovely illusions for so long. But I’ve made some good discoveries about myself too. I’m quite good at using The Box.

What box you ask?

Well, it’s where I keep the rat’s butt that I don’t give.

Handling difficulties has taught me this, I think. I’ve also gotten more confident in general, probably because of said challenges. I never used to believe it when people complimented me on something. Now instead of secretly doubting that person’s intelligence, I think something along the lines of “you’re dang right my earring are cool.”

But only if the compliment is for my earrings. Otherwise that would be weird.

Also, when I figure out something clever, like how to clean the gunk out of the plastic tube in my water bottle with some cotton yarn and a crochet hook, I consider it confirmation that I am as clever as I hoped rather than a fluke.

And when I’m not amazing at something, I am not as likely to consider it a reflection on me as a person. But I’m still getting better at this. The box helps.

I didn’t expect any of that. In some ways, however, this experience has exactly met my expectations, or exceeded them. Being financially independent (although not yet of my employer, but that will come eventually) is even more gratifying than I expected. The decisions I make involve more compromise and are more complicated than I’d hoped. But daydreams tend to simplify things, and compress time.

I expected to enjoy having my choice of music and entertainment, and I do. I didn’t expect to enjoy the freedom to yell stuff at the TV without bothering anyone, however, or to be able to pause it and walk away to cool off when I just can’t even anymore; I didn’t know I wanted to.

I also didn’t expect to take advantage of the freedom to watch or listen to things I suspect my parents wouldn’t approve of. Is that a good thing? Maybe.

I enjoy it, does that count?

So, it’s been a mixed experience. Apart from being difficult, to say the least, moving out also hasn’t magically transformed me into well…I guess a version of Snow White who always enjoys cleaning and mending things, and is artistic and stuff into the bargain.

Am I that sometimes? Sure. I always was.

But most of the time I’m the person who wants to do whatever she wants to do, and a lot of time what I want to do isn’t that productive. I’m working on that. In the meantime, hand me the box.

Signing off now, if I feel like it you’ll hear from me next Sunday.


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