Sunday, August 1, 2010

Loving so called "life"

So this is it, the real world. A degree, a job, an apartment, bills (all paid) and a small sum of money in the bank. This is what I have worked so hard for. And it was so worth the sacrifice, the dedication and the wait.

I spent two weeks after graduation wondering what it was I was going to do for the rest of my life. Though I was lacking the knowledge of what it was the future held for me, I had complete confidence that I would find out, whatever it was. And so, I began the search....

It didn’t take long. I hardly had the chance to let the reality of it all set in. I received a phone call one day, from a gentleman I met at my dad’s feed store a couple of years prior. We spoke then, of my aspirations, passion for writing and all that inspired me. He told me I was exactly the type of individual he wanted for his publishing company. I lacked one thing, only. A degree.

So, I set out to achieve the one thing that was standing between myself and my dream job, where I could produce substantial content for a publication that reflects my philosophies and values when it comes to agriculture, history, politics, religion, family and entertainment. I checked in with him a time or two, to reiterate my interest and skills and he agreed that I was right for the job. I have been working for him for a month and a half now.

This whole experience is surreal.

Tonight is my first night in my apartment. As for most intuitive thinkers, I have found repetitive sentiment in the occasion, keenly aware of the following:

I am entering a new phase of life, and letting go of another. Last night was my last night at home. As bad as I needed this, a place to call my own, I am saddened that I’ll never get that back. I am so grateful for the home my parents shared when I over-extended my stay and the many great memories they created for me there. I am blessed that I didn’t leave their home out of spite or resentfulness, though at times, I showed them an undeserved disrespect. Being home at 27 dissatisfied me to the point that I expressed my discontent where I should have showed gratitude. Being away, I am immediately filled with regret.

I appropriately came across this simple prayer, while unpacking today, in a book that provides illuminating selections from the bible: “Thank You for my parents, God. Even though I’m grown up now, may my relationship with them continue to grow. Heal the old hurts and resentments with Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for all You’ve given me through these two people—and help me never be too busy to show them how much I love them. Amen.

On the other hand, I am filled with joy at the understanding that this apartment is mine. Everything inside this apartment is mine. Walking in my front door, I step into a world of unfamiliarity, yet I am so aware of the fact that it belongs to me! And as I sort through my swirl of emotions tonight, I’m adjusting well. It feels like home in a lot of ways, already. It feels so right, sitting on my couch, writing. It’s like this was meant to be all along. Things have lined up along the way, leading me to this place. It has all happened so fast, the majority of my friends don’t even know I have left home, yet. But here I sit, nearly settled and I am content, in need of nothing.

When I was in high school, I got a hope chest for Christmas, something I had wanted since I was a little girl. I began filling it with things along the way, with the intent of using them one day. But I didn’t expect the day to be so rewarding. These household items became timely treasures as I unwrapped them and reverted back to the time each piece was placed in my chest. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that each would complement my apartment surprisingly well, simultaneously surrounding me with the memories I’ve made along the way.

My boss at my first job contributed a handful of miscellaneous housewares items from the department we represented when she found out I had a hope chest. They will serve as a constant reminder of the potential she was kindly trying to get me to recognize in myself. Looking back, I recognize that my stubborn, 18-year-old, know-it-all attitude created a lot of tension in my relationship with her. As I’ve matured, I have recognized the many attempts she made to push me to better myself, despite my negativity. She forced me to build displays when I told her I wasn’t creative enough. She encouraged me to implement a program for our hearing-impaired customers when she found out that I knew sign-language. She pushed me to apply for a buyers position, assuring me that I possessed the capability I thought I lacked. She assigned me as a Team Member Awareness Group representative and delegated cheese buying responsibilities to me. I complained nearly every time. The items I use on a daily basis, will serve as reminders of my smug attitude as a teenager and the choice I face daily to deny that person.

Right after high school, I had fleeting plans to move out. I bought a stainless steel towel rack for my bathroom that has remained in it’s box ever since. It hangs in my bathroom as if it were specifically chosen for that room.

At the World Pork Expo last year, JoAnn took one of the centerpieces for me to take home to my empty apartment in Panora. It’s a large, yes...pig. It sat on the three dollar coffee table I bought at an auction, the entire summer. Every time I looked at it, I laughed to myself. I never would have bought something like that to accessorize my home. But seeing as I had nothing else, I left it. When I was packing to come home, I looked forward to throwing it away. But something wouldn’t let me. I stuffed it in a box along with the rest of my things and here it sits on my new coffee table as a surprisingly fitting centerpiece for my living room. Now, all of the memories contained inside bring a smile to my face when I see it.

My sister-in-law, Shannon, made a ceramic dish for me the year my oldest nephew was born. On the outside, she painted it blue and green, the colors I have chosen for my kitchen. Inside, she placed my nephew’s footprint. He will be nine this year. I cherish this piece as it represents the immense love I have for the kids in my life. There is nothing that compares.

For years, my grandmother was married to an Italian man by the name of Reno. I thought of him as a grandfather when I was a kid. He was an amazing man, patient, kind and generous. When his mother died, She left a house full of antiques to him. I remember visiting as a child, exploring what I thought were ancient relics, and treasures. Mom gave me an entire set of silverware that came from that house. I plan to use it to be reminded of my childhood lust for the past and my fondness of Reno, and the example he set for what a man should be. He is the one man I witnessed taking his last breath.

Jaime, my other sister-in-law, gave me her old set of dishes when she last upgraded. I can remember heating up dozens of frozen burritos and leftover pizza on these dishes when I laid the girls down for bed and started a movie to unwind. I can’t wait to serve my company on them and not the plastic set I fell in love with in high school.

Together with my new furniture, these things complete my apartment as a signature on my home. Everything in here represents who I am. And best of all, I have saved tremendously, meeting my long time goal of having everything I own paid off.