On Growing Older // One Year Since Graduation

This post has been long in the making, I am posting it a bit early (since I didn't graduate really until May 14th of 2011) because of seeing all my left over friends' post on Facebook about graduation.  Be ready for a fast ride through my first year post grad in a post dusted with a few quotes & song lyrics.  So here you go:

It's been one year since I graduated with a BFA.  One whole year. I walked across the stage in front of so many people that it sounded like rain when they started to clap, exactly one year ago, May  14th, 2011.

I packed up all my belongings from the apartment over looking the Main St of my college town & headed in home in the car I bought by myself to spend exactly one week at my parents house.  I started my first job in the middle of May, started my second job shortly there after. Quit my second job while still being employed at my first.  Found a third job & started in July.  Quit my first job & started only working at my third job.

I was hired as an Office Manager & quickly learned I loved playing office all day.  I've since used my creative degree to design a brochure, catalog, & student handbook, to give the business a cohesive look, and to teach others about creating a creative resume that stands out.

I worked my butt off that summer.  I don't remember how much I made, but I was so poor.  I still am poor but now it's like a good poor.  I couldn't go to my family reunion because I had to work.  Only after driving through the night did I manage to get to see everyone on the day after.  This was the last time my family was together before my grandfather's passing.  I didn't get to hang out with my friends or go to amusement parks, or hang out in the sun.  I was exhausted every night.  I hardly could take the one hour drive to see my family or to go swimming because I was so busy.  I don't know if that summer was the best summer or the worst summer of my life.

We moved house about mid summer, closer to where I worked.  We had issues with the dryer, Katie & Jason got married in August. I got to go to the Lake for a few days with the puppy around September.  Fall became a better season as I was only working one job.  Eventually we decided to go camping & we went the weekend I met Zach.  That Monday (Columbus Day) Zach & I had our second date.  2 weeks later he asked me to go steady.  Very many things in life are mediocre & love shouldn't be one of them, I realized.  As we grew closer & closer, I'd get terrified when he'd talk about the future.  I'd beg him to stop talking & told him we'd get there when we got there.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my maternal grandma's house.  We celebrated Christmas at my paternal grandparent's house.  We celebrated New Year's with friends where we got a little bit tipsy & he sang Queen songs to me including Fat Bottomed Girls (I don't know what he's saying about me lol).  All of a sudden I became a girlfriend when not more that a few months ago I was thinking only of myself.  One day I found myself slowly accumulating things at his house, then I'd wash the dishes, or help with the laundry.  Suddenly there were things of mine in the laundry.  Then I realized I'd started to care about building a life with someone.

In January my grandfather passed at 75 leaving my grandma, his wife of 57 years, & our family all heartbroken.  The best & yet hardest part of it all was having everyone together that whole week, which my grandfather would have loved.  I got to participate in the midnight, girls-only, donut run pastime that lost a little bit of its fun since there is no longer a sweets loving granddad to bring them home to.  Zach met nearly my whole family on my father's side.  He decided he really liked my aunt Jeanie.

On Valentine's Day Zach & I made pasta from scratch.  He bought me a dozen purple roses that were $75. I fussed at him for spending so much money but I appreciated them.  Through February I got back in the groove with ceramics.  I discovered I could make wheel thrown pottery.  I signed up for classes until the Fall.  $300 came out of my wallet rather quickly for it too.

In March, I finally got a drawer over at Zach's house as his move out date creeped closer.  March meant he didn't have to go to work since it was the start of his terminal leave.  We went to Michigan & spent 10 whole days.  I discovered that I could go anywhere with him & probably be happy.  We went antiquing, beach walking, & Steak n Shake eating.  I was slowly coming to realize that I could build a life with this guy.

April came & went quickly as we packed up Zach's house.  It is a this point in this post that I realize I've replaced a lot of the 'I's' with 'We'. I cried as we left an empty apartment that was more his than mine, but somehow became ours. The day I never thought would come, May 1st, came & he left.  The weeks are now filled with skype dates, phone calls, & texts to each other.

This has been my life until now.  In one single year I learned so much.  In one single year I learned that college really is the best time of your life.  I learned that I'd rather be happily working and having quality of life than being tied down to a job. I learned to trust some one, something I never thought I'd be able to do again.  I learned that in one single year your whole life can change.  I learned in one single year that I could do it, that I could make it work.  I learned to be happy.

In college I learned how to be myself.  I developed who I was.  I discovered my love of art.  I had many jobs that taught me many things one of which was how to drive 15 passenger busses.  In college I think I probably laughed twice as much as I cried.  I had my heart broken.  I felt like I hit a brick wall.  I learned to love myself.  I learned far more of this through art then I ever did through any other major.  I learned responsibility, accountability, & how to have fun.

I've said before that college was a 5 year plan for me.  I can't imagine what my life would be like if I'd been graduated for two years now.  Two years ago I wasn't ready to be out.  Two years ago I didn't have the determination to leave my parents' house.  Two years ago I'd probably be working in a place I hate.  Also, what if I'd kept my math major.  What would I be doing now?  I think it's so funny to see how life turns out for us.  How, for the most part, we are discovering what life has in store for us rather than what we have planned for it.  Sometimes things fall into place the exact way you want it & sometimes things fall into place the exact way they should be.

So to everyone who graduated on Saturday, or the Saturday before that, or will graduate the Saturday after this one, Congrats!  I still can't believe we've gotten this far.

So have fun at your grad parties, packing up your apartments, and getting the hell outta that college town. Here's to a bright future, what ever it will be.  I have faith you will find a job as well!!

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