“You’re going to have to get out of that high school mentality at some point”
Someone said this to me recently during a conversation about my present situation. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that comment. Part of me agrees. Part of me knows that I have far more to offer than what I’ve putting into life at the moment. I know that I have all of these skills and talents that could be turned into something to be proud of if I just worked harder. I think of the could-have-beens, the different paths I had planned for my life when I was younger. I see the people I graduated with who are successful in the traditional view of the word.
Then there’s the other part of me. The part that’s incredibly proud of how far I’ve come in the past couple of years and who I’m becoming. Two years ago, I would have never seen myself on the other side. I’ve written about this before on a previous blog, but it’s been a long time. Up until about eighteen months ago, I was suffering from severe depression. Severe in the sense that I couldn’t manage a job or even a couple classes in school because I could barely make it off of the couch on the bad days. I gained a little over eighty pounds, had crying episodes that turned into panic attacks, and felt that my life was generally just over.
I had a moment of clarity in April of 2013 when I finally started seeing a psychologist. There had been several moments in my life, both as a child and as an adult, that I was able to begin working through, and for the first time in years, it was almost as if a fog was beginning to lift from my life. I removed myself from a very emotionally and mentally damaging relationship, but I lost many material things in the process, including a house and more money than I could comprehend at the time. However, the most important thing to me was (and still is) that I was healing. I was becoming a person who could enjoy life again. My time spent in Germany was another way to heal. Since I had pretty much lost everything in the past year, it was a good way to remove myself from everything, get my priorities straight, and in a way hit the reset button on my life. I was able to get some more of my mental clarity back while learning new things and having adventures that will be with me forever.
While I know that from the outside, the life that I’m currently living doesn’t look like the most responsible or put together, it is a vast improvement from the one I was living when nobody knew the internal struggle I was fighting every day. There will come a time when I will have to move on and do something more productive with my life or find a different job to support the writer’s lifestyle that I dream of living daily, but I’m not planning on pressuring myself too much. There are far more important things in life to me than the “American dream” of marriage, a high-paying job with benefits, a house in the suburbs, and 2.5 kids. At this stage in my life, I’m just proud that I have some sort of drive and desire to do anything at all. I believe that depression is something that sticks with a person, even if it just skulks in the shadows. Right now, the fact that I’ve held some sort of job for the past year and have been able to continuously build strong friendships is an overwhelming win for me. There are people to meet, experiences to be had, and places all over the world to see. If that means I’m irresponsible and living a high school life, then that’s some other person’s opinion.