The Delay of Change

Me in Lisbon, Portugal

Have you ever delayed the inevitable?

Have you ever held on to something because you were afraid of what was next?

I know I have!

College for me, like for many others was a great time to…

#1 To learn, whatever it may be that you took away from it 🙂

#2 To meet new people

#3 To discover ourselves a bit more

#4 And of course, have a bit too much fun at times

Part of my time spent in college was as a “non-traditional” student, because of age. Starting when I was 19, and finishing when I was 25.

In total, completing six years of school, for two degrees and a minor.

However, I didn’t need six years to finish those degrees.

Honestly, I didn’t even need the minor.

Nope.

I could have graduated after four and a half years, maybe five, tops.

But I wasn’t ready to leave.

And because I had finished my associate’s with honors, I had received enough scholarship funds to carry through the remaining years, as long as I maintained a 3.5 GPA.

So I did, and so I stayed longer.

My last two years of college being fun, but a bit of a struggle.

I knew in the back of my mind that I was prolonging what was inevitable..

Finishing school for good.

“But I’m having too much fun and not ready”, I told myself.

And it wasn’t so much about willingness to get a job or work, I’ve held a job since I was legally able, and was doing yard work and such prior to…

No.

At this point, college had been the highlight of my life, and I started it shortly after I attempted to take my own life. Nine months, to be exact.

Stepping into college was like stepping into a new world for me.

A world where…

I was bettering myself

I had multiple friends for the first time

I felt, for the most part, happy

Considering the life I was heading towards prior to going to college, it makes sense looking back. It makes sense to me why I didn’t want to leave.

Because, I was certain of two things…

I liked where I was at now

I hated where I had been

And, with a limited view of what was really possible for my life, the future scared me.

Like many college students, or adults in their early 20’s, I thought I knew what I wanted to do after college, but it was an abstract idea at best.

So… in short, the ambiguity kept me in a box.

I didn’t want to regress to the life I was living

And… I didn’t want to move towards a life I couldn’t envision.

Which is why I prolonged my time in college, having as much fun as I could, while I was still able.

As if to say, life is nothing but downhill afterwards.

Truthfully, I did feel that way for awhile after leaving college. It was a difficult transition for me, as I know it is for many. By the end of my time in school, I had gained 50lbs, and was pretty miserable.

Mostly because part of me knew that looking towards the future and creating a future I want, was where my attention needed to be, but the other part of me wanted to stay safe, in my comfort zone.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling when we are pulled strongly towards the past and the future at the same time. And often, we just choose the path of seemingly least resistance…where we currently are today, or not far from it.

So I soothed my pain, my fear, my discomfort through consumption. Food, caffeine, and alcohol.. They all did the “trick”.

Looking back, I see that now. My behaviors were a direct reflection of how crummy I felt being in that place of future and past, and not paying attention to the moments as they passed by.

Even after I had left college, had my short stint in Atlanta, I spent the next 3–4 years consistently reminiscing on the “good times”, often living in a nostalgic state, which kept me from focusing on the present, or preparing for the future.

You know what though, it’s okay.

I made some mistakes.

I’m far from perfect.

But mostly, I’m grateful that I see the lessons in how I held myself back in my 20’s, as they have been very helpful in creating the life I enjoy and am grateful for now.

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