Junior Year: halfway to the rest of your life

At 20 years old, you’d think I would have a better grip on the whole ‘growing up’ thing. Truth is, the closer I am to the real world, the further away I want to be from it. I know, I lied. I wrote in my first post that I would not be nostalgic and talk about past times again, or at least this soon, but this time, I can’t help it.

I have three phrases that I live by, and I hope I continue to live by for the rest of my life. The first is ‘go wherever the wind takes you’. Sure, we’ve all heard it, and, yeah, it’s a little hippie-esque, but I happen to love it. The second is pretty similar, ‘just let it happen’, which I tend to use more often since it is easier to slip into casual conversation. The third phrase is the most important to me, and I will admit that I preach this sometimes a little too much. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” This was taught to me at my summer camp when I was ten years old, and I’ve stuck with it since then. Especially in the past couple years of my life, it has really proven to be true. In fact, I plan on getting ’10|90′ tattooed (in very, very small font) on my left foot just in case I were to suddenly lose my memory and need to be reminded of my daily mantra.

Up until recently, I can say that I have lived my life according to these three sayings. I have gone on random weekend trips when the wind chose to take me there; when I’ve questioned something happening in my life, I have sat back and let it happen, knowing that I would have to deal with the consequences afterwards. But now, I really can’t do that anymore. My life is picking up speed so quickly that I am having a seriously hard time keeping up with myself. Where did the days go that I could just mosey on with my life without a care in the world? Whatever happened to the times when all I had to worry about was what outfit I was going to wear when I went to go buy more clothes at the mall?

Ten years ago, the biggest issue in my life was whether or not we were going to go back to Sanibel Island for spring break, or if I wanted to ask Santa for the Britney Spears CD or the Christina Aguilera one. Now that is a tough decision to make when you are 10 years old. Back then, I thought I was the busiest kid in my whole school because I took piano lessons, ice-skating lessons and played soccer. No joke, I literally begged my mom to let me quit piano because I didn’t think I had enough time. Forget about school! I was an asset to the Orange Aliens and I needed to work on my triple axle (hardy-har-har). I wish I could go back in time, slap my ten year-old self in the face and forbid her from ever complaining again.

Flash-forward ten years from ice-skates and bad neon outfits (don’t worry, it still fits) and I’m having to deal with the reality of, well…reality. Two years into college and its all coming over me like a tidal wave: here comes the rest of your life. No more waiting to see if mom bought my favorite chips and salsa at the grocery store and they are waiting for me in the pantry; no more asking dad if he can pick me up from soccer practice on his motorcycle instead of his car just because I want to feel the wind in your hair; no more expecting anything. From here on out, it’s all on you. Suddenly, those problems I had when I was ten years old seem so minuscule compared to what I have on my plate now. I mean, my own apartment? WHAT?! I can hardly trust myself to get dressed in the morning, let alone have my own place and provide for myself. And wait, what is this about a real job? You’re talking to the girl who has been a summer nanny for the past three summers. Obviously I would love to have an internship right now; I know that I need the experience and, frankly, it seems like it would be a genuinely fun experience. But let’s get back to that tidbit about me not being able to rely on my parents. Ever since the summer after senior year, my summer vacation has been devoted to making money that will last me throughout the school year. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with this. In fact, I’m sort of glad that my parents don’t give me spending money anymore. It’s actually been a really beneficial step in growing up and getting used to that whole independence thing. But, because of this, an unpaid, full-time internship just wasn’t an option for me. And let’s be honest, in the fields of communications, PR, and new media, there are few opportunities for good internships that flood you with money.

In addition to the whole concept of living on your own and having a career, I’m also starting to realize that my day-to-day nuisances are not what they were when I was a youngin’. For example, a list of my daily worries in middle school would be as follows: If I roll my uniform skirt one more time to make it shorter, do you think the other girls will think I am cool?; What sticker should I put on the back of my phone?; Who am I going to dance with at cotillion on Friday?; Should I put my hair up so that boys will think I don’t care or should I leave it down so I look prettier?; Whose house are we going to have our sleepover at this weekend? The bottom line is that when we were that age, our worries were practically non-existent. And the worries that we happened to have were almost always about what other people thought of you. Now, I could care less what people think of me. In all honesty, I have my friends and I know that they will be there for me no matter what, so why bother trying to impress anyone else? If people have issues with me, that’s their own fault. With this in mind, clearly, my everyday worries have changed overtime. Instead of worrying about whether people will like me or not, now I’m having to deal with slightly heavier issues: What’s that weird noise my transmission is saying and is my car going to blow up?; Am I going to graduate in time?; Am I going to be able to pay rent on time?’ When am I going to have the time to do 24 hours of community service?; Uh, mom, I’m at the doctor’s office, what’s my social security number?; Is my resume good enough to get me the job?

I guess its just hitting me a little hard that I am no longer that little blonde-headed girl whose biggest problem was remembering to wear sunscreen when she went outside. I believe John Mayer says it best- “I’m so scared of getting older, I’m only good at being young.” It’s the truth- I’m scared out of my wits. But before I get too carried away, let’s remember that I still have two more years left of college! It’s not like I have to get all serious about the rest of my life quite yet, right? Rage on, my friends.

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