Once again it has been awhile since I have written a blog about what I am doing over here. So, I thought I would take some time, and sit down and write about my thoughts about my experience thus far. In the passed few weeks Josh and I did not travel anywhere due to me being sick and various goings on with Josh's friends. While we have stayed grounded to the Army base, these weekends still fill me with great joy, and a feeling of satisfaction. Our next trip is this coming weekend. We are going to Belgium for a few days, and I'm pretty excited about that!
I do though, still have time to think about things every once in awhile, things that I may have thought about while I was home, but didn't really allow myself to ponder, or feel because I felt that either I didn't have time, or for some reason, wasn't allowed to. Like everyone I am caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and I sometimes forget to think about the things that matter. Actually sit down, gather a few of those random, but meaningful thoughts that bounce around in my head, and take some time to really mull them over. Being over in Germany where I am forced to think of things as something for me to do, I have come to the realization that there are things we think that matter, and there are things that actually do.
I'm going to apologize now for the length of this blog, and the following paragraphs that lead up to where I am right now. If you can, bare with me, you might just find something worth reading… Then again, you might not.
I came to realize right away that the person I was when I stood in front of a mass of people at my graduation, is not the person that I would be ten years later, or even two years later. As June 10th quickly approaches, and Katie's graduation comes with it, I find myself in awe that I graduated nearly two years ago. This meaning Josh graduated nearly three. We stood there, me and my fellow students, some friends, some not, and from somewhere inside of us believed that we would be the class to change the world, we would be the group that amounted to something… What we forgot was that every class had a group or more that had these same aspirations. We would conquer the world, set it on fire with our brilliant ideas, and our young, but "wise" ways. I had plans, although they were quite vague, and even now, sometimes they seem vague to me. Two years ago I had a general direction, and at that point, a general direction was enough for me.
I remember standing in my room looking at my reflection in the mirror some time before graduation. I looked at myself terrified because I didn't know what I was going to do, and who I was going to become. I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but I had absolutely no idea how to go about becoming one. How to achieve this goal continues to elude me at times, but from somewhere deep within me I take courage and comfort in the fact that I will find a way to be who and what I want to be, even if it takes me the rest of my life.
We quickly learned that we would not set the world on fire, and that was okay. Or maybe we would in our own small ways, but that it would take time, and something like conquering the world would take far more time than we had expected. A few of us also learned that life happens. While we are making grand plans to be wealthy, smart, and successful, God is in the other corner making plans, or sitting back and watching plans unfold that he has already previously made. Somewhere along the way, in these passed two years, I have found that God has a sense of humor. While sometimes my thoughts on what is funny, and what he think is funny varies, I deeply believe that everything works out the way it is supposed to.
Life altering events sometimes happen within the first few years of "Freedom" from the prison we call high school . I returned home from my Senior trip to Disneyland to find that Tom Smiley was deathly ill. With his passing wheels of change within myself were set into motion, wheels that until recently I didn't know were working let alone moving. Tom's death had a profound influence on me, and changed my life forever.
It seemed as though I wandered around for the next year confused but somehow at the same time being obedient to what I thought I SHOULD do, and I attended Grays Harbor College faithfully and threw myself into my studies. I shut myself off from the outside world, and turned to what was constant, and I held tight to what little I could control. Isolation from what I knew seemed like the right answer at the time, so I turned inward which seemed to be a good answer then, but now as I look back was probably not the right one. Sometime within the summer after my graduation I got it into my head that I needed to be the perfect person. This is something that I am not proud of, but something that I still struggle with to this day. Details to this part of me are endless, and I will not bore you…
I found out quickly that life will not end if I did not see my friends everyday. I found that I could live without them, but they were, and still are certainly nice to have around. I learned that people change through the years, and that we find more things in common with some people, and even less in common with others. I started to grasp onto what was important, and realized that I was allowed, even with hesitation on my part, discard the things that weren't. I started to realize that while school and education is important, it is not something for everyone. I will finish, I'm sure, but it college is not something I have interest in, and that's okay. I've learned that life and its experiences can sometimes teach you more than books, and I found that it's okay to feel the need for freedom.
Losing my dad was the biggest eye opener I have had to date, and probably the biggest one I will ever have. As I ran into the house and into the bedroom where my father laid in peace, everything that had been so trivial, but had some how seemed so important, fell away. The math test next week no longer mattered, the fact that my windshield wipers still didn't work on my car no longer mattered. What mattered was the grief that I felt, but at the same time, the relief that I felt knowing my father no longer was suffering. I finally knew what complete sadness was, something that I had previously thought I already knew about. And as I laid in bed that night I knew what it was like to feel truly cold. To feel a sadness that not only made my body feel cold, but that made my soul feel cold as well. What mattered then, and what matters now, is family. What matters to me is that they are happy, and in them, I am happy too.
One day, after my dad had passed away, I wrote to Josh and asked him if a person had to be well known to be remembered. It never seemed fair to me that normal people effected a few, but were remembered by even fewer. I wonder how many people often think about my dad, probably not many. I think about him every day, sometimes with a smile on my face, and sometimes with a heavy heart. Then I thought to myself, Do I have to become great to be remembered? Do I have to make a difference in millions of people's lives to have people look back on my life and say, "She lived an interesting and beautiful life." Josh never answered my question in a returned letter, and maybe that was for the best. I was supposed to find the answer on my own, I think I knew the answer from the beginning, but sometimes questions need to be asked.
The answer is no, I don't have to be "great" to have people remember me, and neither do you. It doesn't matter if I'm not a millionaire and can't help thousands and thousands of people, although it would be nice. It doesn't matter that I'm not famous and that millions of people won't remember my name when I'm gone. What does matter is that I live my life how I want, and with who I want, and maybe somewhere along the way I effect someone's life, and make someone else happy.
I was told once to try doing something that I wanted to do, and to tell you the truth, I kind of like it. I know I won't always get to do what I want to do, but I know now that there is room for things that I want out of my life, and not just what I think I should do, and what I've been told I need to do. That is how I ended up where I am today. Finally taking a chance on something almost a year ago now, and ending up in a foreign country, finally living a life that I want to with the man I am deeply in love with.
There will always be rules, but I learned that I can decide on a few things for myself, all the while knowing that while I make these decisions, I really have no control over my life, only God does, but sometimes I'm allowed to pretend that I know what I am doing, and I'm allowed to make plans anyway.
So I came to some sort of epiphany the other day, and that is why I started to write this in the first place. Sometime in the last two months I have decided to live an interesting life, even if at times it feels monotonous and repetitive. I have decided that I want to live life with my arms open, and take what life has to offer me. I want to live a beautiful and exciting life. One that won't effect huge amounts of people, but will effect those who matter. I want a life filled with happy times, laughter, family and friends that mean everything to me, and a life with Josh. I am going to live a life that I will be proud of, and one that my dad would be proud of as well…