When I was a college freshman I swore off swearing. I replaced words like shit with cow and fuck with shoot. I’m still not quite sure how shit equates to cow but these are things they don’t tell you when you are welcomed into this world. They kind of just throw you into a corn maze without a handbook or google maps. At least they give you parents to guide you, people who came before you and went through all the same (Shit? Cow?) you did. But when you reach adulthood they never greet you with the sign that reads: ‘Now figure it out yo’self’.
That first year of college for me was a quest of self-discovery. Much like Wild’s Sheryl Strayed, I was on a quest to find my wild. (Hence the blog name, Bon to Be Wild). I was asking all the typical existential questions. Who am I? What do I want to do? Am I living for me or am I living for other people? So I tried a million different things (In my career, friends, appearance, religion) until I found what made me the happiest. I embraced the hair I used to hate. Then hated it all over again. And then learned to re-embrace it once more. Dropped old friends and made new friends in odd places. Became more religious, less religious, but more spiritual (?). I thought I was looking for stability; to find values and actions that would never change. This proved to be unrealistic.
It would be inhuman to go through life with the same thoughts and the same actions and the same people you surround yourself with. It’s okay to stop feeling something and feel it again, to lose a value and regain that same value. It made me redefine the words ‘bad’ and ‘good’ and learned not to look at everything in black and white. That people have many layers, and to define someone by one layer would be unfair to every other layer they’ve grown into. Defining someone by one stripe would be like undermining the fight it took that person to achieve another one of their stripes. This revelation taught me that it’s better to be honest with yourself, to align your actions with your thoughts and words than to act differently than the words you say out loud. Having opposite traits and doing different types of activities doesn’t make you a contradicting person, it makes you human. But saying something aloud and feeling completely different inside is fooling the real you. (AKA cognitive dissonance cc: @Shelly Nahama).
Now that I'm a senior I sincerely thought by 22 (Holy shit I'm 22) I’d take the knowledge and life experience I’ve accumulated over these past four years and figure it out. Figure me out. Settle into something. But evolution man! We’re constantly evolving.
I’m two months into 22 and *sometimes* I still feel as lost as I did at 18. Just the other day while relaying a story I started it with, “I just don’t want you to judge me!” In which the person replied, “I just don’t want you to judge yourself.” In which I thought whoa I am totally judging myself. I totally don’t fully accept myself. When do you ever really fully accept yourself? This isn’t a rhetorical Q. If you know the answer pls shout it out at ANY time.
Am I regressing? Have I grown/ grown into myself at all these last four years or will I always keep questioning myself and my decisions? (this one's rhetorical dudez. don't answer.)
I texted my friend the other day mid existential crisis and was like, “Do you know what you want to do in life?”
And I appreciate these people in my life who I can text at the wee hours of the night with my absurd questions. Some will recommend books, or podcasts, or meditation. Others offer different a perspective, a listening ear. I’ve tried all these things and the interconnectedness I’ve seen between people who feel the same things and ask the same questions make me feel less outlandish. Through the confusion, human interaction has proved to me to be the ultimate silver lining and stability in a world that's constantly fluctuating.
Graduating is supposed to symbolize a closing chapter. When one door closes, another door opens bla bla. But I’ve found that this isn’t always necessarily true. That perhaps life is one revolving door and you can choose when and where you want to get off or on. Graduating doesn’t mean I need to find my dream job the moment I step foot into the real world. It doesn’t mean a door closed, it just means the door is still revolving, waiting for me to hop in once I've figured things out.