“I’m too old.” “I’m too weak.” “I can’t do that.” “I’ve made too many mistakes.”
Many of us want to start over. We want to start a new career, go back to school, get healthy, etc. Many of us also fear that we can’t do anything to change the situations we’re in. Here’s the thing: I’m too stubborn to believe this.
I am 28 years old. I went through my school years, kindergarten through high school, as an average student. I never was the perfect straight A kid, but I wasn’t a trouble maker either. I was more concerned about being a kid, playing with dolls and video games, than worrying about what the future would bring. As a teenager, I was actually pretty boring. I preferred to stay inside playing games and reading than going out partying. So what happened between those years and now?
My father was diagnosed with ALS when I was 16, almost 17. In 2006, at 18, I graduated from high school. I started attending Rhode Island College that fall, and started my first part time job the summer after. Slowly, I became more and more depressed and anxious about everything that was going on. I started cutting myself, over eating, skipping classes, and eventually dropped out of college in the fall of 2008.
As I mentioned though, I’m stubborn. I wasn’t ready to give up on my college education, so as soon as I dropped out of RIC, I applied to Community College of Rhode Island. Before I was able to start, my father passed away in the spring of 2009. I felt like I was living in a fog, and it was one of the worst experiences I would ever go through.
Shortly after my father passed, a friend of mine and her boyfriend introduced to their friends. I started spending more time with them, started at CCRI that fall, and thought I would feel a bit better. I found a new job as a cashier, and in the spring of 2010, I started dating one of those friends, Rob. Of course, this led to some soap opera styled drama when I soon realized that nearly everyone in that group of friends had feelings for him as well. This led to a huge rift that I did not mean to create, but I’m glad I stayed with him. Only 4 of us, (me, my boyfriend, my friend, and her boyfriend) stayed together.
That fall, I had my breakdown. My mother had her first stroke, I left my job without a word, and I started skipping classes again. I finally started going to counseling, and my friend got me a job working at a center for children with disabilities. However, she also started encouraging me to drink more and demanded me to tell her everything I was feeling. It was hard to see at the time what a painful, toxic relationship I had with her.
In 2011, we had a huge fight, this time she told me I was too clingy to Rob and that I was keeping too much from her. I was considered out of control in her eyes. She compared our relationship to her’s and her boyfriend, and I once again felt everything spinning out of control. Our friendship was over, and months later, her relationship with her boyfriend also ended after she cheated on him. We tried to speak again, but something within her changed. I feel sorry for her and hope she gets the help she needs, but when you are trying to figure your own life out, you need to let go of that toxicity.
2012: I found out my financial aid would not cover any more of my tuition at CCRI because I was there for too long, and so I decided to stop attending and get a full time job at a daycare. That job turned out to be a nightmare, and I left a little less than a year later. After that, I got a job as a housekeeper at a “spa”, if you can call it that. I applied to Johnson & Wales University after quickly realizing I did not want to stay as a housekeeper, but again dropped out quickly when realizing the pace was too fast for me and the structure was too strict. Baking was an art to me, not a science. And it was meant to be fun, not something with military-like structure.
I felt lost. I was stuck at a job I hated, I thought I destroyed any chance I had at college, my health was going downward, the only thing going well was my relationship with Rob. As happy as I was with him, I will say now that the only person that can ever bring you true happiness is yourself. A spouse, a friend, a family member…they can support you, but they can’t fix you.
That was until I realized I was only 2 classes away from a General Studies associates degree. That was it! Would it help me find a job? Most likely not. But it was the boost I needed to get myself on the right path. I finished those two classes, obtained my associates, and found myself on a path once again. It was a rocky one, but at least there were no pits in this one!
I applied to Southern New Hampshire University online due to my husband and I only having one car, and needing the flexibility. I am less than a year away from obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I have plans to obtain my masters after. I have goals. We are married now as well! Life is always rocky, but at least I’m finally finding my way. So after 3 (now on my 4th) schools, 6 jobs (5 of which were unfulfilling), and changing my major 6 times, I am finally on the path I need to be on.
No, it was not and is still not easy. Everyday is still a struggle with depression and anxiety. Everyday, I have to worry about something, whether it’s school, money, my health, my husbands health, or even my dog’s health. Life is throwing obstacles in our way left and right…I’m just finally learning how to dodge them. I told you…I’m stubborn. I’m not ready to give up without a fight.