I haven’t written anything of any significance or in any form of prose in quite some time, but it’s honestly probably been for the best. While some could see this as a travesty, that I’ve abandoned my creative outlet in order to pursue some mundane day to day activity, I actually have to counter that when I used to write more often, it was mostly self deprecating or from a place of negativity. I tend to write in times where I feel restless and not content in my life and environment, and the words end up being pessimistic. Although writing is an amazing outlet, I have the clarity to look back now and realize that my writing, while creative, was also not the most beneficial for my mental state. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself, but it’s never good if you’re making fun of yourself because you don’t like who you are. And that’s exactly what I was doing.
So, now that I’ve prefaced this with that little declaration, i’ll get down to the point. On this exact day one year ago, I made the decision to move back from New York to Massachusetts in order to work on myself. And I wanted to write something tonight because tomorrow I start a new job and embark on a new journey to figuring out where my life will go and where my life will end up. A year ago, I needed to figure out a career path, but most importantly, I needed to work on my mental health, which I have never taken the time to actually step back and do. For years, I have thought on my own and also have been told by others that I could benefit from working on myself and getting to the roots of my unhappiness. But I was always in a place where I thought that my unhappiness would work itself out on its own and it was just a passing phase, or that I was just unhappy and meant to be unhappy. I thought that some people were just meant to live their lives out not content and unhappy. But, over the past year, I have grown in ways I never would have expected had I not made the decision to take a step back and figure my life out.
Last summer was probably the height of my unhappiness. As cliché as it sounds, I went through a nasty breakup that left me shattered. Although I put my whole heart into that relationship and I fell very fast and very hard for my ex, our relationship did not last long (for the best, really. I thank whatever higher power there might be now that he broke up with me when he did), so after a period of time, I was extremely confused about why I was as sad as I was still. Yes, I was broken hearted, but I seemed TOO broken hearted for the situation. I was also working at a job that I hated more than anything. I really liked the people I worked with, and they’re honestly the only things that kept me sane at that company, but the work itself killed me. It was mentally draining and excessively stressful, and all of the stress and anguish wasn’t worth it for the work I was doing and the experience I was gaining. I found myself at a loss.
I kept assuming that over time, life would figure itself out. I figured that I would meet someone new, he would just magically appear and I would forget about my ex. I thought that a new job would fall into my lap and it would just happen to be exactly what I wanted to do and also pay my rent, while still allowing me to enjoy myself. But none of this was realistic. Not only would nothing just fall into place because I wanted it to, but also the fact that I wasn’t even enjoying myself anymore. When I was first living in New York, I really enjoyed it; I loved that it was huge and there were so many new places to explore and new people to meet. But over time, it started weighing on me. Getting almost anywhere was at least a 40 minute subway ride. Everything was expensive. I didn’t want to go to new places or meet new people anymore, I just wanted be surrounded by the familiar and back somewhere safe, where I could figure out my entire life. New York can be a really amazing place to be, but sometimes, it isn’t the right place to be. That’s what I had to figure out.
The second I realized that I had the option and opportunity to step back and figure myself out, rather than just taking whatever menial job I hated to cover my rent, I knew that was really the only option. My mental state had never been so out of whack before in my life. I was always frantic and anxious. I had never experienced anxiety so often and so regularly before in my life.
I can happily say that a year later, I have never once regretted the decision to move home. The only time I have ever really missed New York was when thinking about how I don’t read as much as I’d like to anymore because I had a commute everyday that I wanted to pass the time on. Other than that, I haven’t missed it. Whenever I visit New York now, I have a great time because I’m with great friends, but I always know in the back of my mind that it was never like that when I lived there. The day to day was not enjoyable. I was not happy.
This might be the first time in my life I can say that I think I’m actually on the path to becoming happy, at least without external forces. I’m not depending on a relationship or something physical from the outside world to determine my happiness and self worth. I recently wrote a list of 25 things I’ve accomplished before turning 25, and I realized that the list shifted from physical things I’ve accomplished (which were all pretty varied and I’m proud of) to how I’ve completely changed thinking about the world. I’m finally at a place where I am happy to sit back, work on myself, and enjoy spending time with my loved ones. I’ve unintentionally become a more optimistic person. My cynicism level has dropped and I feel like I’ve become extremely less bitter about the world. It feels good. I’ve never felt so “okay” before and I like it. I know I still have to work on myself, but it’s a work in progress and at least I’m taking the time to make time for myself. I’ve realized that some things in life will happen when they happen, because what is meant to happen will happen. But, there are other things, such as career and mental health, that you need to work on yourself. You won’t just become happy because you wish that you’d stop being unhappy. You can’t just sit and wish that life will change for you. You need to take the steps and actually try. Something from within has to change.
So I’m writing this all down now because it’s officially been a year since I’ve made the decision to work on myself as a human being, and I am really happy to think about how much better I feel. It just feels like my entire perspective on life has changed and I’m getting to a place where I am content in life, but in a good way. Not in a way that I’m accepting my lot in life because it is what it is, but I’m content in that I’m good with everything. As I said, I’m starting a new job tomorrow. I will be working as a one to one instructional assistant in a first grade classroom, and I really think that although it will be very challenging work, it will also be so rewarding and exactly the experience I need. I worked in a school once I moved back from New York, and it is the first time in my life where I worked a job I didn’t dread going to. I’m hoping this continues and I can really figure out my life, at least in terms of career. The rest will happen when it happens, but at least I’m working my way there.