I was one of those people who thought life would never get any better than college. And I don't know, maybe it doesn't (the verdict is still out) but there are a few things I know to be true--life in the "real world" isn't really THAT bad and if I had the choice between me at this time last year or me RIGHT now... I'd choose right now in a heart beat.
I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely LOVED college. I was that kid who joined every club, went Greek, knew everyone on campus, partied hard on the weekend, made straight A's, had a good reputation... living in what I thought was the perfect situation. And I guess in a way it was. In high school I was never that outgoing, I was tomboy, I lived for sports... so getting to college and having people "know" me was a pretty sweet deal... ya know? I learned a lot about myself in college and who I really was on the inside--something that I'm forever grateful for.
I also met my best friends in college. Not only the two girls who I know will be standing beside me at my wedding but also those that will be sitting right up front cheering me on when I say "I do" (and for the record, this is no time soon--totally theoretical!). Besides a degree, this is probably what I'm most thankful for about college.
So I guess the question remains--how can waking up every morning at 6AM, working 8 hours a day (most days during the semester 10-12!), staying in on the weekends, being the "responsible" one REALLY be that much better?
I have no idea.
What I do know is that I'm happier. I feel more fulfilled. I enjoy the little things in life. I have a better relationship with my family. I'm motivated more than I have ever been before.
I just really like ME. (Not vain at all, right?!)
I think a lot of it has to do with Peter. I've never, EVER been one to completely and totally rely on a boy to make me feel happy or "complete"--I think this is something that you have to dig down deep inside of you to find... but I'd be lying if I said he wasn't a major part of the equation. I just feel.... better when I'm around him, ya know? And he's a big part of the reason I do have a better relationship with my family. He's the one who really encouraged me to take a chance on my dream job (thank goodness!) and was there supporting me the entire way. He's not afraid to be himself and doesn't constantly try to please other people--something I've learned to love and admire. And whatever comes of our relationship--I'll always be thankful for the time we spent together.
And to think this time last year I had no idea where our friendship was going... hmm. ;)
Another major turning point for me? FINALLY fully dedicating myself to being healthy. I'm not saying I'm perfect because hello, I'm far from it. But for the first time in a LONG time, I feel like I'm doing something completely and totally for me--and no one else. My eating habits are better, I've pretty much completely cut out alcohol, I'm exercising 5-6 times a week, I signed up for my first half marathon in September (eek!), and I'm no longer using my weekends to be lazy--I'm staying active! It's fun. And you know what's even better? Getting compliments. ;)
The final part of the equation? I finally feel like I have a purpose and direction in my life. This time last year I was totally lost and had no idea what the hell I was going to do with my life. I took a job at a bank on a whim and thought maybe I could be that corporate 9-5 person. And to be honest, the only reason I took it in the first place is because I needed something to prove to that I wasn't the flake who graduated college and never got a job. But GOD did I hate it. I remember texting Peter every night he was away and practically crying my eyes out because I was so miserable. And then all of the sudden, the job I never expected to open up... opened up. And I went for it..... and got it.... and LOVE it. I know now what I want to do with my life. I'm beginning to prepare for my Masters and planning my career path! It's honestly one of the absolute coolest feelings in the entire world. Not to mention a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.
So... maybe my life isn't quite as exciting as it was in college. Maybe I'm not the same person I was this time last year. But to be completely and TOTALLY 100% honest--I don't mind one bit.
College isn't the best 4-5 years of your life. It may be some of the most fun and exciting but I'm telling you--it gets better. Trust me. :)