…I swear that’s not what this whole piece is really about
So, at the moment, I’m sitting here on the floor, feeling my brain shatter into a million pieces, as I frantically eat a cinnamon roll and wash it down with a mimosa as a faint attempt at a coping mechanism. This may sound like the definition of a hot-mess but I swear to God, I mean that sentence in the best way possible. Let me back up and explain myself…
Seeing as I’m about to graduate college, I found myself feeling a little lost about what the hell I was doing in life. When I say a little, I mean a lot. Currently sitting with a good GPA, plenty of experience in the field I was getting my degree in and having what I thought was plenty of confidence, I was very confused why I was feeling this way. I did what I always do when I feel confused with life. I drove myself to my safe haven, Barnes and Noble. I ended up spending more than I’d like to share on books, ranging in genre from budgeting 101 to fairytale poems. In the mix I also found the book You’re Not Lost by Maxie McCoy. This book is how I ended up on the floor, reading a text from my mom, crying (again, all in the best way possible).
Let me preface this by saying I am only on chapter 3 so everyone hang on to see how much I can overreact by the time I’m done with this book.
Here’s what happened (small spoiler ahead if you’re planning on reading the book, which I still highly recommend).
Chapter 3 of this book asks you to look at your past and think about your “spark” or what has made you happiest throughout your life. The book has little activities throughout it and one of the little activity bubbles said, “call someone who has known you throughout your life and ask them what you cared about most when you were little”. Texting my mom, I thought she would reply with my favorite hobbies, like watching Annie six million times while singing and dancing along or walking down the hallway in her heels practicing my America’s Next Top Model walk, fully convinced my future 5’1 self would make it all the way (yes, that really happened). Instead, I got this…
Honestly, I don’t think I had ever been hit this hard with the truth before. Ever. It made me realize that all this pressure and anxiety I had over this huge list of goals I had created for myself wasn’t even to satisfy me. I was working so hard to get straight A’s, get the best internships, make the most of my college experience by taking on the most work and hardest classes, all for what? All just to prove not to myself, but to everyone else that I could. If no one was watching or cared, would I have done half the things that caused me to lose countless nights of sleep due to stress and anxiety? No. If it were just me that I had focused on, I would have had much different goals. Not that these goals would have been easier or harder in any way, but they would have been worth more because they would have been for me.
By the end of this conversation with my mother, I realized that my parents would have been proud of me no matter what I did or how I did it, as long as I was happy. I also realized that even if they weren’t proud of me, I would be proud of myself. Even if my mom wouldn’t have responded to me in that way, I would still be sitting here telling you to do things for you and literally no one else. Because that is who you are living your life for. Not your parents, not your friends, not your significant others, only for you.
I wouldn’t change anything I did in the past. Yes, I took on stress and responsibility that no child that young should have had to take on. However, this led to my dad getting a second chance at being an attentive and loving father, to a new little brother I always wanted through my step family. It led to my mom meeting the man she needed, when she needed him most, and who now loves and supports me just as much as she does. It led to me being here, having the realization that it’s my turn to be selfish and to do things for myself.
Everything is going to be okay. Everything happens for a reason. You will end up exactly where you are meant to be.
Thank you, Maxie McCoy, for making me realize this by only Chapter 3 of your book. You’re amazing.