I Think I Know Who I Am
a reflection of a reflection
A little over a year ago I wrote “I Really Miss Who I Used To Be.” Threw words onto the page, posted it, and was done. I thought about it, thought about the me I was when I wrote it, thought about how much I missed writing so carelessly, but I never read it past the initial read through to say “yeah, that’s good enough.”
Well, I finally reread it.
And I cried.
I cried for the me I was then missing the me I was and will never be again. I cried for the badly masked sadness in that essay, a badly masked cry for help.
Everything but nothing has changed in the year since then.
Different job, different boyfriend. My “gap year” became a “gap year and a half,” but that’s okay. At least I’m enrolled and taking a class (for now). I think if I told beginning of 2022 me how our 2022 would play out, she would’ve laughed in my face.
Things are different, things are mediocre, but there’s a strange sense of okayness.
For one, I love my job. I love working part-time at a library more than I could’ve ever thought. I drive the same route to work everyday, and I have been for nearly a year, and I love it. I love my coworkers, I love working at a library and feeling like I’m doing something important. I don’t dread going into work, I don’t call out. Something that was supposed to be temporary – temporary while I figure my “mental health” out – has become something I never want to leave.
I guess working at the most magical place on Earth wasn’t that magical after all.
I don’t know if I’m happier – I think I am, I want to hope I am – but I’m okay.
For the first time in years, I’ve been able to get back into reading and writing without feeling guilty for not being “productive.” We, as a society, have a (toxic) mindset about being “productive” and how we need to participate in “hustle culture.” And that’s simply not for me. I want to take life slow, I want to dive into words and fill my life with them.
It is productive if I write this essay. It is productive if I read a book. It is productive if I spend the day surrounded by friends and good food.
There’s so much more to life than just working. And while this is becoming a jumbled mess, it feels so, so good to put words on (digital) paper and try to find my voice again.
A lot changed in 2022. A lot that I never thought would happen.
Moving in with someone just to break up a few months later…but still continuing to live there, Hurricane Ian tearing apart my hometown and childhood home, my mother reconnecting with my stepfather and them ending the year engaged (again).
And that’s just the personal stuff that happened. I can’t even begin to put together the pop culture, political, and national events that transpired over the year.
This reflection on a reflection is turning into a reflection of 2022; I guess I’m still shy about dumping my life out and trying to make sense of it all. There’s so much I could say, so much that I probably should leave unsaid, and so much in between.
But it all comes down to this: I’m only twenty-two. I still have time to figure life out. Day by day, week by week, whatever. I don’t have to have it all figured out instantly. I see on social media my peers from high school, from college with full-time, salaried jobs, or spouses and children, and I feel like I’m not doing enough.
But I’m halfway to happy, and isn’t that enough?
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