I ended up being awake all night a few weeks ago. I just couldn't sleep. I was upset, and frustrated, and felt directionless.
I sat down and started painting, while listening to a favorite show of mine. The show mentioned something that led my train of thought to hiking. I've been doing a lot of hiking with Lucy lately, and my mind leapt to the Appalachian Trail.
I put down my paintbrush, got up, and started doing some research. I used to date a really interesting man named Nads. He has hiked the trail quite a bit. I recalled some of our conversations, and delved deeper into the plethora of information about hiking the trail that the internet provided.
After doing a fuckton of research, and figuring out whether or not I was able to pay my bills and fund the hike, I made a decision.
On March 8th, I will be dropped off at the start of the trail. My darling grandparents are going to buy the pack I was recently fitted for. I have probably 50% of the things I'll need. I'm going on overnight hikes between now and then. I'll be on the trail until Easter (4/20), when Ida will pick me up in Tennessee.
So that's what's up. I'm super excited, and terribly nervous. Six weeks on the trail will be difficult, and painful, and I'm determined to make it all the way through.
My friends Amanda and Kie-Won-Tia are able to loan me some supplies. If anyone else has any lightweight camping/hiking gear that I can steal, I'd be eternally grateful. Email me at LockeMiddleton@gmail.com. I'll cook you dinner, and totally bring that shit to you.
I'm so fucking excited.
All my love.
Today was my birthday. Good old 1/22. I turned 27 years old. Fuck. I'm 27 years old.
It's funny, I can think back on several instances over the past several years where I've met people that told me they were 27 years old. My internal reaction was usually one of, "Oh, wow. They're almost 30. I wonder what they're they doing with their life? What goals have they managed to accomplish? What goals are they actively pursuing? Isn't that when everything starts to fit together and make sense?"
Even during the past year, when I still viewed myself as in my "mid-twenties", I looked at people that were 27+ through the same eyes that 20 year old me saw them. It was as though being in your "late twenties" gave you some innate ability to hone in on that comfortable pattern of lifestyle, so you could just keep doing what you're doing and always be okay (whether financially, emotionally, or both). Once you hit that age, you would find yourself on a path that was, at the very least, well-defined. You were finally an adult, making adult decisions about careers and family and the future.
I feel very unsure about my future. I don't know what's going to happen with anything, really.
During the last few weeks, I've been digging myself this awful pit in my mind. I've been discouraged and frustrated and hurt and angry at everything and nothing... probably mostly with myself.
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After writing the post above, I found myself talking with an old friend this evening. I expressed a lot of the concerns and anxieties above. Somehow, he had the most amazing insight. While I'm still not sure where I'm going, or what I'm doing, I'm more excited to find out than I have been in a while.
I feel like everyone should be given this amazing, positive encouragement. So here you go.
"Life starts when it starts. Then it starts again. And again."
"Spoiler alert: You are a speck of sand on the beach of people that have felt lost, and felt they were drifting. But it's better to be drifting than anchored to a shit existence."
"You are still free to take any path that you wish. No, that isn't exciting considering the fact that you have no clue where you're heading or what you should do next, but you are free in a way that so many people are not. You can step in any direction."
"Don't ever fall for the concept that things have to be done in accordance to time markers. Your path will be its own, with its own timing and revelations."
"Don't fight this moment. Don't mourn this moment. Don't stress this moment. Embrace this moment. These themes are eternal."
"Welcome to the river of confusion. Just remember to keep swimming, love. You will not drown."
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Here's recommended listening. It may not be your cup of tea, but it sure as fuck is mine. And I'd be remiss were I to not share it with you. Please, give it a chance. And if you find my taste differs terribly from yours, let me know why. I'd love to find new music. The music I love is all I know, if that makes any sense.
I've recently found myself in one hell of a state of transition. Lucky for me, I can hold the fort financially for at least a couple months. And there are a few irons in the fire, in terms of finding a new position. Which is hopeful.
Love to you all, and yours.
And here's your musical translation, just in case you were curious.
Happy new year to me, I have no job. Oh, and my birthday is in January, so I get to do that jobless, too. And pay for my cars tag registration. And get my license renewed. And apply for unemployment. Turning 27 is just the best, right?
I know I'm so much better off than many people that find themselves without work. I have an incredible group of friends. I have a stellar family. I have more support than most. But I still feel so terribly lost. The light at the end of my proverbial tunnel is getting fainter by the day. And that frustrates me to no end.
Usually, when I find myself frustrated, I spend time figuring out how to change the circumstances that led to said frustration. But, right now, I feel like I'm doing everything that can be done, and still failing at creating a solution. What else can I do to solve this problem? If I apply to all the open positions that I'm qualified for (and even some that are a bit out of my league), and I get no response, what else can I do?
I'm feeling more lost than I have in a while. And more frustrated.
I have so much in my life to be grateful for. Which makes my tragic feeling of hopelessness even worse.
It even has an awesome drawing. And discusses how to bathe kittens.
But I'll copy and paste to make life easier. Clicking links can be such a pain in the ass, right?
Over the past few weeks, I managed to meet a man, fall madly in love with him, and have my heart broken. Talk about a mini-drama.
I'm not one to date, simply because it's messy and complicated and more often than not at least one person in the relationship ends up feeling the way I'm feeling now. But, for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to fall head-first into a relationship. And I got hurt. And I'm glad that I did it.
This experience has allowed me to learn so much about who I am and what I want. I've managed to see myself through the eyes of other people, and I really like the person I'm growing into (and they like that person, too, which is a great feeling). I felt attractive and desired and loved, and what's so much more is that I felt completely worthy of those things (which is a somewhat new level of acceptance for me).
I've discovered that no one can make me happy. But people can add to my happiness in abundance. The trick is to have that happiness in the first place.
I've learned that I don't have to be scared of who I am at the core of my being. I have always worried that, deep down, I was this tangle of anxiety and depression and insecurity. But I managed, in a moment of introspection, to find that core of me and it's just... calm. Peaceful, even. It's accepting and still. And knowing that gives me so much comfort.
Yes, I am hurting. Yes, I feel a bit betrayed. I feel naive. I feel silly for putting so much hope into something so quickly. But I'm also really glad that I experienced this flash in the pan love. I feel like I overcame my fears and relationship-cynicism, and have found something in me that I never even knew was there.
And now I'm going to do something I should have done more of as a child, and listen to my darling, brilliant stepmother (who sent me the following email):
"I'm sorry about the breakup. People do stupid stuff in relationships all the time, like dating someone when they are still attached to someone else. At least it came out fairly early on, not that that's much consolation. But I'm hoping that you won't let this situation rule your weekend. Really, why should it? What will moping get you? Have a great time with your friends at your party tonight and then get your ass over here for dinner on Sunday. We are your family. We love you. And there will be salmon."