I’ll be honest, I initially wasn’t in the mood to write an article. It probably sounds bad considering that I’m the Features Editor, but in my defense I’ve been working 8-10 hour days for two weeks straight, I’m pooped, and I just wanted to finally enjoy my summer vacation without worrying about word count and other newspaper or work-related things. Cue the tiny violin soundtrack to my life.
But things change. Here I am, the night before I jet off to the Big Island of Hawai’i and writing an article. It’s the second day of summer that I’ve actually been able to do nothing but wake up late and mosey around my empty apartment. So why write when I’ll be snorkeling with sea turtles in less than 12 hours? Well, shit happened this year, and now I just want to write about it and share my laughably sad life with you dear New U readers.
First things first. I had my heart broken. I was doing the whole “I’m young and in love” thing for the entire duration of last year with someone who had told me that I was the only girl that he had really liked in college and considered to be his best friend. Yeah, whatever. After I had spent days carefully thinking of what I wanted to say in order to end it on respectful terms, he decided to thoughtfully send me a text right before finals week saying, “i want to break up.” Yup, couldn’t even capitalize properly.
The whole relationship had been a mess, really. I was with someone who prioritized partying over spending time with his girlfriend; made me feel more afraid of the dark when I was with him than without him; got so drunk one night and let another girl kiss him, thought it was okay to be friends with a girl who had told him to leave me and be with her; and made me nearly beg him to spend time with me.
Writing that down makes me feel so foolish for subjecting myself to all of that, but you know, I was in love and incredibly hopeful that things would get better. For nearly a year, instead of finding myself incredibly happy, I found myself crying more than I ever had in my life and deluding myself into thinking that I was happy.
But now it’s over and you know what, things are infinitely better. Yes, I cried a lot for a week straight, but that quickly ceased. I’ve been spending a dizzying amount of time with my friends and family, intensely focusing on work, and rebuilding my goals that I began to push away during my relationship. Ladies and gents, if there’s one thing that I really learned during the past year, it can be summed up in this quote: “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” So what if I stumbled upon it during an evening of blog surfing, if I had seen that nine months earlier I think I would have shed a lot less tears.
Now on to the next thing. Tonight, my parents informed me that my dad was laid off. After spending about ten minutes jokingly harping on me for my purchases of $10 albums from iTunes and five dollar teas from Peet’s, I began to tune them out and finally, when their rambling ceased I asked, “What’s the big deal?” to which my dad retorted with, “Well, we need to be more careful about what we’re spending, I got laid off.” My mouth dropped open.
I like to consider myself the planner in the family, the one who has all the answers to the what-ifs we may encounter, the one who likes to be proactive instead of reactive, and the one who likes to know exactly where we’re going and what’s going to happen. In other words, I hate surprises. Everything’s up in the air now, and none of us really know what will happen. But as I sat over my bowl of rice and kimchi at our kitchen counter, sobbing over the thought that my dad would be moving away, my parents wouldn’t be seeing each other every day, that it would just be mom, me and the dog, and how much things would be changing, my parents didn’t even seem worried at all. Instead they were calm and almost laughing at me as I blew my nose into the same napkin that I had been wiping my kimchi-smeared mouth with.
I was so confused. Why weren’t my parents freaking out, didn’t they understand what was happening? Instead, my dad just said, “You know, I’m not ashamed to take any job. If I have to work at Home Depot, I’ll do it. I’m not ashamed and you know what, just be positive, there’s no use in moping around.”
I’ve always admired my dad, but tonight, my admiration soared to new heights. While I cried about tonight’s events, I heard my mom and dad laughing in the living room as they watched House Hunters. I thought of how lucky I was to have a dad that’s not ashamed to do anything, entirely devoted to his family and happy with just his wife, daughter and semi-intelligent dog. I thought of my ex and how he could never even compare to my father, and hoped to one day meet someone who will make me completely happy, every single day.
I feel like I’m eight years old again at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida, wading in the fake ocean and suddenly knocked down by an engineered wave, which totally happened by the way. I remember being scared, scared of what would happen next, in pain because water was rushing into my nose and burning my nostrils, and my tiny body spinning around as I tried to grab on to something so I wouldn’t drown. But after enough pummeling by the artificial wave I was able to pull myself back up, get my feet on some solid concrete ground, and run back up to my parents who didn’t even see what had happened to their only child.
Although not everything has fallen apart (a couple of pretty big waves have managed to knock me over quite a bit), it’s nice to think that I still have my friends, I still have every single member of my family safe and sound, and in less than 12 hours I’ll be snorkeling among some vibrant coral life, sea turtles, and dolphins. Yes, a little part of me is scared straight of what’s to come, but apparently, that’s the fun part of life.
Filed Under: Features