I think one of my most memorable moments of last year happened in a Target parking lot.
It was August. It was hot. (I don’t remember why I was at Target, but does there really have to be a reason to go?) All I knew at that moment was I have no idea what I am doing with my life right now. And there I was, crying to my hands in the drivers seat.
I had applied to maybe ten or twelve jobs at that point after returning from Iowa. My prospects seemed slim. I could go back to being a hostess, I could get a job in retail. But I didn’t just spend four years in college to do what I did while I was in school. Like many newly graduated college kids, I felt really hopeless. I began to question the worth of my education. I thought of the shoulda, coulda, woulda. Why didn’t I get more internships? Why did I major in music? Why am I back in Nashville? It all seemed empty with roads leading no where in that Target parking lot that day.
And it’s been a year since then. And honestly, I still questioned how much I was moving this year. I often felt like I was slipping backwards or just grinding my gears. Because we pull up social media and see only the good parts of people’s lives. There were times when I saw someone else’s life and envied them, even when I examined my own heart and knew I would never want that life for myself.
There were times I felt unstable, unmotivated. I hadn’t made a list of what I wanted, but I felt I wasn’t accomplishing anything, nonetheless. Because finding out what you want your life to be, for your joy and yours alone, is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
And since I’ve been here for a year now, I’ve stepped back and seen it all in perspective. It was the little job I took at the Jewish Community Center, where I learned how to command the attention of a couple dozen children and be kind yet firm, gentle yet stern. It was being positively reinforced, being told your instincts are right, just follow them. It was admitting there was a lot I didn’t know, but showing up to learn all the same. It was the confidence I gained as a leader after taking a couple years in the backseat.
This year was months of writers block, when the words just wouldn’t come, when the music wasn’t anywhere to be found. It was sparsely written journal and blog posts, just wanting to express something, just wanting to say something relevant. But I learned you don’t always get to pick what your muse gives you. You may want to create something deep, relevant, and revolutionary, and all you get is a cheesy pop song. Be thankful you created something today, and keep going. I learned that those months of silence were a time of healing and learning to give myself grace.
This year (honesty, again) was lonely at times. After college, our friends disperse. We take different paths. We grow in different ways. We may even decide those friendships no longer serve us in a healthy way. Or we may learn we want to deepen those friendships despite the changes. In the end, we are all becoming older, hopefully wiser, hopefully closer to becoming our truest selves. And I am so grateful for these relationships that allow us to grow in conversation, to be there with encouragement when times are rough. It is a beautiful thing when you find even one person that shows you just exactly the way you are is perfectly okay and I will be there for all your wanderings. These are the things, I am finding, that make life a little more full.
So, stepping back, I see now that this year was never stagnant. I may have been fixing my eyes on things I shouldn’t have been, but I was always moving forward. I was growing in experience. I was getting stronger. I was healing. I was shedding some things that no longer fit. This new year brings me a new job in a distinguished private school, hopefully many more words and melodies, and the chance to deepen my relationships with some beautiful humans.
September, here I come.