Hey 20’s, our time together is running out

So I might have forgotten that this little blog of mine existed. I’m mildly comforted by the fact that it’s practically a shout into the void for now… no shade to my close family and friend followers or the strangers who may come across this and somehow make my world feel smaller… cozier.

I’m rapidly approaching my 29th birthday and doing a lot of reflecting on my post-college adult life and my future. My goal is to walk a path of authenticity and take control over my own happiness. I pray for the strength and courage to make choices that serve me positively and to commit deeply to all that I cherish and all that brings light to my life and to the lives of those whom I care for. I want to live open, and honestly, and beautifully. I want my happiness to be so evident to my loved ones that if I were to die tomorrow, they could know, with no doubt, that I lived– or at the very least, worked very hard toward– my very best life.

Here’s my slice of #vulnerablepie …

I started this blog passionate about a new adventure, a new hobby. I’ve dabbled in writing my whole life, but in May 2014, at 25 years old, I committed myself to writing a book start to finish. A few months later, my world got shaken up… and for a solid year straight, I wrote with a broken heart. To be perfectly blunt, I was a hot mess. I didn’t handle that pain well. I didn’t handle it quickly. But I still wrote. It was my distraction. It was the only space where I felt like anything good could come from the emotions I felt. They were some wild mix of dark, crazy, tragic, guilty, remorseful, angry, and bittersweet. I loved hard and crashed harder. It was a time that, for the most part, was a terror to live through, but now, looking back… I’m mostly in awe of my and every other heart on this planet that has persevered through pain – physical, emotional, or both. How fucking amazing is your heart? It is relentless. It fights for you– broken or battered, it fights.

May 2015 was an interesting month. I got my masters degree in biology (go Tigers!), I coached my inexperienced lacrosse team to the first round of state playoffs, and I finished the first draft of my book. These were huge accomplishments and I realized that and acknowledged it at the time, but I was still broken. That brokenness was not something I blamed on anyone else at that point in my life. Sure, I got hurt in a break up and it sucked, but it wasn’t anything that billions of people around the world hadn’t gone through…which is exactly what made me wonder what was wrong with me. Why was I taking so long to move on? Why was my wound still so raw? I held no grudges against my ex. He is a good person with a good heart. We stayed friendly with each other, which likely (surely) made things more difficult, but still, I was responsible for my own healing and I was neglecting that responsibility. The good part is that I knew that. Acceptance is the first step toward recovery. Isn’t that a thing that they say?

By the end of 2015, I felt my mood shift. I was 26 now. If day to day moods are like the weather, this was climate change. The sporadic happiness I felt through that year and a half of struggle was like those random warm days in the middle of winter– sweet, but temporary. Finally summer had arrived! When I smiled, my cheeks hurt. When I laughed, my belly cramped. When I posted pictures on social media of me enjoying life, it was no facade.

2016 was a good year, but uneventful socially. By November, I had edited and revised my book seven times. I found happiness in the pages that I wrote while broken. There was something therapeutic about reading the words I strung together at a different time in my life and choosing which to keep and which to trash. In 2016, I embraced my introversion. I’m hesitant about marking that as a positive because it’s a part of my personality that I’ve struggled with for much of my life… mostly because I feel like I have so much to offer, but my reserved nature around new people prevents me from connecting the way more outgoing types might. Bless each of my friends who took the time to get to know me, who waited for me to come out of my shell. Anyway, embracing who you are… that’s good, I think, but it also doesn’t prevent you from challenging yourself to grow and change in realistic ways (this is really more of a dig at my shyness than introversion… two things that are not synonymous, despite what some thesauruses might say).

In 2017 I essentially abandoned writing. It’s hard to pinpoint what happened exactly. I finished my book, I got my list of agents together, I started drafting queries… but I never tossed out the line. I reasoned that the market wasn’t right, blah, blah. I guess I was scared. That, and I knew I could do better. The perfectionist in me wanted more from my story. Still though, I wish I’d tried, if for nothing more than the experience. I suppose technically I still could, but at some point I started picking that story apart and building a new one. I like where the new one is going, although it has not gone far at all. I want to really bring it to life, but more on that another time.
2017 brought two other big changes. 1) I started dating after two and a half YEARS of absolute singleness. Holy. Cow. Again, that entire time was not bad. I grew in a lot of important ways and found happiness, and honestly… I just wasn’t interested in dating. I didn’t think anything bad about it and it didn’t have anything to do with me being afraid of getting hurt again or any of that. I still had faith in love– I was just cool on my own… until I wasn’t. Then Tinder happened. And Bumble. And Coffee Meets Bagel. #allthedatingapps. “Lord have mercy,” pretty much sums up the whole of those experiences, but I did meet a sweet fella who has been kind to me and fits in with the season I’m currently living and so, Tinder for the win! 2) I realized that a job I once loved was beginning to destroy my mental health. Fall 2017 I felt a dark cloud the likes of October 2014 creep in. I. Wasn’t. Having. It. Not again. I was prepared to fight it this time, and this time it was so much more straightforward. Loving another human being– that’s emotional, that’s spiritual, that’s messy, that’s complicated. Work? Well, there are lots of ways to earn a living… too many to stay stuck somewhere that no longer serves you or that you longer contribute to effectively. I love teaching kids science, I do. I love coaching lacrosse, I do. I am also good at both, but factors that stretch far beyond my students, athletes, coworkers, and administration (all things I have overwhelmingly loved about my job) led me to reconsider my career. Or really, not reconsider… resign. My 29th birthday (also the last day of the 2017-2018 school year) may very well be my last day as an educator, at least in the traditional sense. I’m embracing this change but I have no clue where it will lead. I am proud of myself. I don’t do things like this. I’ve never considered myself a risk taker. I play by the rules, I stick to the book. I try to excel while also staying within the confines of what’s expected of me. I was a good kid. I did well in high school. I went to college. I got an apartment. I got a job. I got a car. I went to graduate school. I paid off my car. I bought a house. Checks on list, really. Not that much of that isn’t stuff to be proud of, but I want to LIVE. Hate to be cliche here and quote song lyrics, but in the words of P!nk, “I don’t want control, I want to let go.” I want more. More experiences, more feelings, more spontaneity, more adventure, more joy. I’ve got my “things.” Now I just want joy as consistently as I can get it. That means knowing when to let go of the things that don’t serve me well, scary as it may be. Right now, I don’t know how I’ll pay my mortgage come September. This is something that would (maybe should) typically cause me intense anxiety, but I feel oddly at peace. In my heart I have confidence that things will work out. They always have. And what better time to make this move? I’m about to jump on the countdown to 30. I have my health. I have no husband, no babies (not that people who do have those things can’t make awesome drastic changes to their lives, just more to consider). I am free. I know I’ll be okay, but also, I’m striving for more than that.

I find writing cathartic. Care to ride with me on this adventure?

#theroadtojoy #alsoknownastheroadwithnoend #enjoytheride also, #hailunited because soccer and #atlutd is one of the repeating billboards on Joy Blvd.

-Elle

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2 comments

  1. I just cried and smiled and cried and smiled reading this. I am so proud of you and the very hard journey you have been on and still accomplished so very much. You know our heart broke for you in late 2014 as if you were our own. All that you felt was real and you had to experience it all in your own time. I am very happy you have someone in your life and I hope you are treated the way you deserve. Excited to hear where your next adventure takes you. I know whatever it is it will be great!

    Love ya Channelle!! Sharon

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    1. Sharon you’re the sweetest! Thank you for the kind words and support here and over the years. There were definitely times when a card in my mailbox from y’all or a sweet comment on Facebook made a lonely girl feel a little less alone. What a gift. So very appreciated. xoxo and cheers to joy!

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