The strangest thing has been happening to me. I don't recognize myself. My reflection looks the same, yes. But there are so many moments where I both don't feel myself and feel myself. At the same time. I don't feel like myself because it's been so long since I've been myself!
There have certainly been moments when I've seen glimpses of who I am, but I don't think I realized how significant the changes were. Until, you know, I feel back to normal. Or on my way back to normal that is.
Towards the end of high school, I was pretty much heads down, with the rest of my class, on getting the best grades and then getting into "good colleges." By my junior year, I was already running on exhaust fumes... awake at 5:45, school from 7:25 to 2:45, crew practice from 3:30 to 7:00, a quick break for dinner, and then homework until after midnight. #rinseandrepeat College wasn't totally better between morning practices, minor mental breakdowns, regattas every weekend, pressure for a "good gpa," finding a job, building the blog, launching a magazine, etc. The month I was home between graduation and moving to NYC wasn't relaxing (at all), because it was all about the JOB HUNT. Must find the perfect job.
And then it was a year of insanity. I truly don't know what I was thinking or frankly how I did it. I think I must have been in some sort of constant state of adrenaline. Sleeping three or four hours a night for weeks' on end?! Trying to fit in two more-than-full-time jobs plus friends plus everything into my life? Again, I don't know how I did it. I really think it was a constant stream of adrenaline mixed in with some sort of post-graduate temporary manic state.
Even though it's only been a few weeks since I left my job to focus on what I was really passionate about, I already feel like a new person. But the new person isn't really new is she? She's really the girl I've always been... just hidden under layers and layers of pressure and stress that I had buried myself under.
I'm actually (finally) having fun and enjoying every minute of what I'm doing. I have time to enjoy things instead of just rushing through it for the next thing. I have more time to work on the things I love, which also gives me more time to work on things that have nothing to do with "work." Lunch breaks that are actually breaks?! Reading in the morning because I want to, not just because I'm stuck underground for twenty minutes. (And if I want to read another chapter just because... I can.)
When I talk to friends, which I'm sure they appreciate, it's less about venting and more about sharing exciting news or simply catching up. There's time for friends. Not squeezing friend time in between events or meetings, but real time for real friendships. And that makes me happy.
I don't have to be on my computer fourteen hours a day, not that I had to before, but it certainly felt like it (or maybe it really was entirely self-imposed).
I never really thought of myself as a "happy" person. Not that I was gloomy, I just never considered myself one of those beaming people. While I'll never be the life of the party, I'm surprised at how happy I've been. Excited about things instead of just chugging along. Setting great goals and feeling ready to accomplish them versus just checking off the boxes on a to-do list.
It sounds so cheesy and beyond cliché... I know. (Two months ago I would have wanted to slap myself for even saying this... but...) Everything is just so much better. Lazy mornings are better. Movies are better. Songs (omg the songs) are better. Working is better. (Gosh, even my skin is better.)
This isn't to say that I'm not stressed at all. It's just that the stress is more manageable and reasonable. My anxiety around certain things still exist, but it's not in the way of getting through life. And sometimes I cry and get worrisome about the future and meeting certain goals and just being 24 years old living on my own in this big city. But I think I wouldn't be doing things right if I wasn't a little bit nervous!
So everything is a bit brighter and way more exciting.
And I'm liking this girl that I've rediscovered. I think I'll keep her around.
Have you ever felt like not yourself? How did you get back to her?