My Story, Morning Glory
With my last day of work quickly approaching, I still find myself without much of a plan for the near future. I’m still of the mindset that the present should unfold naturally and comfortably, so I am hesitant to take too far of leaps into the future. However, things are taking shape rather loosely, but precisely.
It seems that all the things that have ever happened in my life are related. They all come together to create a story, about my life. I think it’s important we tell stories; they teach, they inspire, they connect, they remind, they reflect, they paint, they project.
My first day on the job at Espresso Royale, my co-worker Dane asked me what my story was. I like that question, it considers depth. I gave him my typical recitation:
I grew up in a military family and moved every three years of my life. Home has been predominantly southern California, but also Italy, Belgium, northern California, and most recently, Effingham, IL. Then, in 2008 I started attending the University of Illinois, and at that time I was finishing up my final year of college, studying International Studies and Spanish. After I graduate, I plan on joining the Peace Corps and bettering the world. In my free time I enjoy traveling, reading, yoga, friends, and live music.
This was August of 2011, and a lot in my life was changing. My father was dying from cancer, I was transitioning into independence, I had to make major decisions about my future, and I had to try and maintain being a student, friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, myself.
Somehow I made it through Senior year, and along the way, Ethan and I found each other. Ethan is an old high school friend that took me on an adventure of a life time, one that altered our assumed courses that has since brought us together as best friends, play mates, pseudo-siblings, co-workers, roommates, and mediums for each other to communicate with ourselves.
On my 22nd birthday, in the middle of Big Sky Country I realized and wrote
We are immune to all the realities happening around us right now. It’s up to us to decide how to hop back in. It’s increasingly seeming that the possibilities are endless.
To me, being 22 has meant having my life finally being given to me entirely, and it’s been up to me to decide where to run with it. Up until now, I haven’t done much running. Instead I’ve been doing a lot of meditating, stretching, breathing, and resting. I came back from Montana excited about, but unsure of how to handle, my new sense of self entitlement; it can be easy to get lost in the infinite unknown.
By the time we returned back to our families in Effingham, I think I had already made up my mind that I had to hold off on the Peace Corps for now. One of my dearest friends, Jena Hecht, had advised me upon her acceptance to physical therapy school around that time, “you just know”-when referring to making life altering decisions. With the Peace Corps, I just knew that my heart was no longer in it. So I forwent my assignment and chose to explore where my heart was.
It didn’t take much exploration for me to feel it being held down in Urbana. I loved my job at the cafe, I loved my friends and co-workers, I loved the town and community. I just knew. It was that simple. I had to stay, and in doing so I gave myself a gift. The simple abundance of my life as it was.
As the summer unfolded Ethan also felt the pull of staying close to home to find and take care of himself, and my mom was looking to start a fresh life for herself outside of Effingham. Fate almost effortlessly brought us all together under one roof in beautiful Urbana; Ethan calls it our nest, I call it the House of Dreams.
And it’s from there our new paths have unfolded rather graciously and harmoniously.
Having taken some months to work, reflect, and scratch the surface of my own interests, I have unlocked some personal discoveries that have expanded my horizons and aspirations. My free time has been devoted to my hobbies, walking, being outdoors, taking pictures, meaningful relationships, reading, teaching myself things like yoga, meditation, singing, and guitar, and opening myself up to new people and things. I’m feeling inspired to travel, and write, and photograph, and exchange, and learn and gain an experience, and the timing seems fortuitous.
I have said from the beginning of my time in Urbana that I would stay long enough to feel out where the wind was blowing me. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s carrying me back to Europe, where I will begin what I have can only compare to a Grand Tour, much like the youth of the age of enlightenment. I plan to leave in January, allowing myself plenty of time to transition this chapter into the next.
I’m not sure what my plan is once abroad, or where my life goes from here, but that’s most of the excitement that drives this story to be written. I don’t know know how it’s going to be end, but a happy ending is guaranteed.