At What Age do We Finally Figure it Out?
Give it the Old College Try
Growing up I never put much pressure on myself to figure out what I was going to do with myself as an adult. I figured something would fall into my lap and I would be successful with whatever path I kinda fell into. I saw people around me thriving in school and I just shrugged it off, thinking mostly it was a waste of time.
It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school and had to start applying for college that I started to worry about where my life was going to take me. I applied to several schools, mainly because I was told that was the path I was supposed to take. I was accepted into a school in New York City. The friends that I had at the time all applied to local schools and choose to stay in the north east region of Pennsylvania. I was scared and broke. I was not to get a dime from my family. I had to pay for everything myself.
At four thirty in the morning I hopped on a Martz bus with two suitcases headed for New York. I had no idea what I was doing. Throughout high school I had visited New York many times and knew my way around pretty well. I was excited and scared. I showed up at the school around eight o’clock and they took me over to the apartment I was to share with another student.
In the beginning I loved it. My classmates were so serious about learning and doing well, but I felt I was just going through the motions. I tried my best to get into the program but it wasn’t there for me. I stopped going to class and ended up just running around the city. I met some interesting people. I loved the city so much and didn't want to leave, but if I wasn't in school I had no real reason to be there. I didn't know myself nor did I have the courage to venture out and really try to make it. I stayed until I ran out of money and headed back home.
All Hope is Lost
Once I came back home I felt more lost then ever. I was aimless and fell into a pattern of drinking and staying out late. I was going nowhere. I started to feel my chances of something happening were gone. I felt that New York was my only chance at making something out of myself. I was in a rut and I wasn't sure how I was going to get out of it.
I slowly dug myself out of the bad habits I was doing, I moved out of my parents house and I started to get semi serious about what I should do for money. I thought maybe I could work for a bank or an insurance company. I applied at both, was hired for both, and chose to work in insurance. That ended up being the worst thing I could have done. It killed me inside. I felt dead and lifeless. All I seemed to do was work. I started to feel like I made a bad choice. One day I woke up for work and just didn't go. Then the next day I didn't go and next. Until I just stopped going altogether. It was time to get serious about what I was going to do.
In a Darkened Bar Came a Beacon
I should have used those months of being unemployed to figure out a plan, to put something in motion but i just drank a lot and slept a lot. I was waiting for a golden ticket. I was waiting for something to fall out of the sky and present itself to me.
One night I was in a bar and this girl told me to come work at a hospital with her. I had nothing going on and it was close to where I was living. I decided why not. I applied the next day and started a few weeks later. It wasn't at all what I wanted to be doing but I needed to do something. I was running out of money once again. I had dried up most of the resources I had.
It turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. I didn't make much money but the way I felt when I was there, helping people, my fellow employees, I fit right into it. It wasn't something I planned to do for a long time but for the moment it was perfect. I made some life long friends and felt good about what I was doing.
Following the Wind
Once again I found myselfI going through the motions, waking up everyday, taking a shower, putting pants on. I didn't give it much thought about where I was headed. I felt the position I was in had very little room to grow. I felt I was stuck and thats as far as I would go with the thought. I just kept moving forward in the same direction. Except after awhile it started to feel like I was just going in circles. One day I woke up and I was 30, 31, then 32. What was I doing with my life? I looked around at the life I had haphazardly built for myself and it wasn't enough. There was something substantially missing but I couldn't put my finger on it. I didn't know what it was I was looking for. I became bored with life. I needed a big change.
It's a Big World Outside
For the better part of my life I felt like the north east wasn't the place for me. I felt I belonged to the south. I always had a thing for Texas and Georgia. I loved the idea of the wide open space of Texas. As I got older I started to really wonder what it would be like to live there. I started doing some research on areas of Texas. It just happened that Austin was the number one city in the country for growth and development, but I wasn't sold on it. There was something about Dallas. Maybe it was watching the show when I was younger. Maybe it was idea of so much different types of culture fusing together.
I decided to fly down for a couple weeks and check it out. It was very much what I had expected it would be, except for all the driving. It hadn't occurred to me that to get places within all this open space you would need to drive. Driving on highway after highway. Dallas, being part of a much larger metroplex, traffic was much more intense then anything I had experienced in the north east, including New York City.
It was something I was willing to deal with to leave the quiet nest I had built for myself in Pennsylvania. I gave myself two years to get everything in order before I packed up my car and headed south. I had no idea what I was going to do down there, and though it scared the hell out of me, I realized I had to do something really big. If I was going to make a change, a real change in my life for the better I had to leave the comforts I had built around me. I could no longer be complacent with myself. Once I left the north east I knew I would have no one to fall back on, no one to blame for the way things were. I was going to start completely over.
It's Not Over Yet
I have been in Texas for almost two years now, I decided on Fort Worth instead of Dallas for many reasons, mainly the pace of life is a lot slower, the people are a lot more friendlier and the traffic isn't as heavy. Since I've been here I've had two jobs, the first being a great place with great people. I would have stayed there if I made a decent living.
What I've realized through all this, thinking New York was the only place I wanted to be, to moving half way across the country to Texas is life is really short. It's not over till you say it's over. There is always hope and change is literally just around the corner. So many times in my life I felt I hit a wall. I felt I was stuck in a dark place only to turn around and see a light but I kept moving forward. I never gave up hope that tomorrow might be the day I stumble into something I've been missing.
I haven't found my path yet. I'm still moving forward. Where I am at right now isn't my ending. I keep waking up and moving forward. My path might be to learn and grow and experience as much as I can in this world. Finding a perfect job doesn't equal a perfect life to me. But moving forward, allowing myself to change and to go with that change, that has brought me happiness through the years. When I finally stopped living the dream of someone else and comparing myself to others around me, when I finally started living life for myself, thats when it opened up. Thats when I saw the beauty in this world. I don't know where I'll be in two years or five years and I'm okay with that. I don't have to know. I can live for today, knowing tomorrow might be a whole new world for myself.