I feel like associating the words “evil” and “change” is dramatic and over-exaggerated on my part, but what is the world without a little bit of drama? The villainous, annoying, and anxiety-inducing realm of Change has motivated me, deterred me, terrified me, and embraced me throughout my life. In high school, I thought that having to wave goodbye to my friends in homeroom and (oh no) make new friends in my classes was the most vile mutation of change. Here I am, eight years, eight college semesters, and four new piercings later, sitting at my laptop, staring the new version of Change straight in the face and laughing.
After college graduation I hugged my off-campus house (yes, I literally hugged it), promised weekly texts to my friends and roommates, and sat in the cramped car between my brother and sisters. As we took off our masks, my dad turned the radio on and I began to cry. No one said anything for a bit, but the restaurant we were going to for dinner was getting closer, and my buckled seat belt was digging into my sister’s side. Slowly my family pried open my bubble of tears. My brother patted my head with his hand and my older sister complimented the way my dad was driving (similar to how someone might comment on the weather). Finally, I began to breathe normally, my face drying in the passing seconds. My mom shook her head at me, preventing the apology she knew was about to jump off my tongue, and I thanked them all in my head for letting me grieve for the chapter of my life that Change had just closed. The next chapter started with a cheeseburger.
Pessimistic of late, I realized that the stress of college didn’t disappear after graduation, but transformed into the unattractive stressors of adulthood. Is my paycheck big enough to cover my car payment and help out with groceries? Am I moving out soon? When am I finding a career? When was the last time I had a boyfriend? A girlfriend? What about graduate school? Why didn’t I wake up early today to run before work? How has COVID been affecting my job search? When? When? When?
These questions had been circling my head like vultures homing in on their discovered prey. I didn’t have the answers, and because I didn’t have the mental capacity to compartmentalize my problems, it also appeared that I didn’t have the time.
Then, I quit my job.
I walked out on my last day, out of a job that never really did anything bad to me, that supported me for the years we have been living in this pandemic, but I walked out and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel about 40 hours/week lighter. The sky looked brighter; I felt taller; I sat down in the driver’s seat of my car and I accepted the unknown future, and for the first time, I looked at Change and I smiled.
About seventy-five job applications, twenty walks with friends, and five failed first dates later, I sit before my computer excited to write this blog. The unknowability, the limitless potential I first met about three weeks ago after quitting, still shines just as bright. Just bright enough to make me feel warm, but also to make it increasingly difficult to see where I will be in the coming days. Even in times where that light seems like it’s dimming, Change lifts my chin up and encourages me to smile. After having a planned trip canceled three times over, I am so excited to write that I will be in Portugal by the time you all read this post. My best friend and I jumped on the opportunity to purchase cheap(ish) tickets and will be whisked away for three weeks. Here comes Change again to drag me on just a little bit further, until eventually I will find where I am meant to go.