Posted by: LovelyAnomaly | March 14, 2010

The Life I’ve Always Wanted

One of my high school best friends wrote a blog post for me!  I’m really thrilled to have her grace the Internet with a blog entry for me.  She’s a great friend and an even greater writer.  I must admit, however, that I’m super jealous of her care-free Sundays and cozy house.

I hope I’ll be back in the bloggy world soon, but I have some pretty big life decisions to think about these days.

Reading Lovely’s recent posts take me back to my own college days, not so long ago, that I couldn’t wait to escape.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do – graduate and get a job as a reporter at my hometown newspaper.

I remember thinking, “If I could just get that stupid piece of paper, I’ll get out of here and everything will go back to normal.” I felt suffocated by the college bubble, unnerved by the total impermanence associated with earning one’s bachelor’s degree. I felt like it would never end, which encouraged my yearning to get through it.

There are several things I wish someone would have told me when I pushed so hard to finish college.

    Working in the newspaper industry, while a dream come true for me, is challenging and a bit scary. I’ve been lucky enough to keep my job at a time when thousands are being laid off around the country. However, I’ve been reassigned and worked in several different departments. I’ve twice cleaned out my desk in the newsroom where I’m now working again.
    I’d like to see a college career center tell you that you can make professional relationships that end in total heartbreak. I developed a close friendship with an editor who made the effort to get me hired. She dedicated significant time to making me a better interviewer, a better writer, a better person. This December, she died after a long battle with cancer. I never imagined, even while she went through treatments, that it might happen. I wanted to learn so much more from her. Still, after months, I think, “I better get her opinion on this,” especially when I finally rejoined her department. Now, I look up and see her empty desk. No one and no experience prepared me for this. I realize, this is how we grow. I just never dreamed it would be so hard.
    As an adult, I never imagined looking for female friendship to feel more like dating than dating. When you’re not living in a concentrated group of your peers, it’s difficult to find people, to get to know them. Turns out, friendship can be complicated, although I’ve found that someone doesn’t have to be my age to be a kindred spirit. That’s an important one.

Of course, I love my life now. I’m much happier now than I was in college. I like building a career and working in a place where creativity and leadership initiatives are welcomed. My clothes and shoes don’t stand out in a group of people my age, but I get plenty of compliments on them at work. “You’re so stylish,” one coworker told me once, and I appreciated her saying so. I smile now when I think of it. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not that.

I bought a house and now dictate the wall colors, music volume and the smells wafting through the air. I love not hearing anyone else rustling around in another unit, and my cat loves the sunny windowsill above my oven. She’s my only housemate, and that’s a true luxury.

I never feel guilty about spending Sunday night on the couch, watching a movie or season five of “The Office.” Three years later, I still feel free when I realize I don’t have any homework or papers due. Of course, in college, I don’t remember ever being bored. Now, at home, I sometimes think, “Should I go back to work and get more done? I don’t have much to do here.”

Yes, life after college has been quite the collection of experiences. I think if I had it to do again, I would’ve slowed down, studied less and probably partied more. I somehow missed the fact that it was a time before before mortgage payments and professional worries. But I don’t feel gypped. After all, this is the life I always wanted.

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