Pink Paw Print

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Reflective Note About College Graduation, Memorial Day, and Leaving Connecticut Possibly For Good

Hi, you guys!!! <3 :D

I hope you all had a good weekend + enjoyed your Memorial Day! Memorial Day is such a special day -- so many people focus only on the picnic food or the socializing, but America is truly an amazing country and I am so proud to say that I am an American citizen. Even if you do not believe in wars, we can still appreciate those who dedicate their lives to protecting us - both those who have perished in the fight, and those who are still alive, today.

(Naturally, it wasn't the greatest of days, I had realized, to post up the next Mindfulness Monday, so yes friends -- yet again postponed for next week! :p ~*le sigh*~ Seriously though, it's gonna happen, ahaha!!)

I planned this post about a million times and in so many different directions. Many were focused on college, specifically. The four years. The things I experienced. The people I loved. The people I lost. The knowledge I gained. The skills I acquired. The life lessons I will never forget.

However, I realized that the culmination of my college years resulted in something much more than just finishing up and leaving Connecticut College... You see, I've lived in CT since I was 7. Madison from ages 7-16 (it wasn't exactly the best experience for me... beautiful town, sure, but bullying is a seriously rampant problem and the authority figures do nothing about it... even the authority figures themselves were bullied ruthlessly. All in all, it was just no bueno for many people, shall we say.); Old Lyme from from ages 16-present. While I didn't enjoy my time in Madison overall, living in Old Lyme completely, entirely, incredibly changed my perspective on living in Connecticut. In fact, you could even say that I fell in love with the state.

Leaving Connecticut is something I've wanted to do since around when I was in the 7th grade, if not even earlier than that. That was because of the heinous Madison experience. I thought CT was so small. That people were so crazy and cruel and sick and twisted here. That it was boring as hell because I was used to Queens + NYC living prior to CT and my parents weren't used to the whole "driving" thing, so we never really ventured too far. However, Old Lyme has changed everything. Connecticut has many different vibes, or "flavors," if you will, I've learned. You've got all the different counties, and then within all those counties, different feels to each of the towns and cities. Many towns in Fairfield County, for example, don't even feel like you're in CT. It feels like New York, for sure. But then you've got New London County (representttt!) which has some of the tiniest, most adorable seaside towns where everyone pretty much knows everybody through the six degrees of separation, basically. Then, there's Litchfield County which definitely feels like rural, picturesque CT at its finest. I won't guide you through all the counties right now, because I've got lots to say here, but I am considering doing a travel guide post about my favorite sights/restaurants/fun places to go in each of the counties, so stay tuned for that in the future!! ;)

But now, I'm finally leaving Connecticut. Possibly for good, save coming back up to visit a few times on holiday vacations during grad school. But then, who knows where I'll get my first real career? Quite possibly, that place is not going to be Connecticut. Although I've been feeling just pretty numb -- not that bad not super either -- about leaving, it's finally beginning to hit me, because of graduation, that I'm ACTUALLY leaving! This is why I can see it now -- there's SO much that I love about Connecticut. The Target in Waterford that always smells like the buttered popcorn and Pizza Hut pizza that they sell at the front of the store and you can't leave the store without spending over $100; it's simply just impossible. The Jake's Wayback Burgers in Old Saybrook with the most amazing Oreo Mud Pie Junior shake. The natural beauty of White Sand Beach in Old Lyme, Perk on Main for both savory and/or sweet crepes in Durham, everything in West Hartford because it's arguably one of the best "towns" (it's really more of a city, sometimes I feel) in the entire state ~*jussayin'*~ (although Old Lyme is certainly extremely lovely, as well!), late-night runs to the Kohl's in Old Saybrook, the pastel-hued houses in Stonington Borough, the various memories of Mystic, going to Lake Compounce in Bristol on Halloween for the haunted attractions, Friday nights spent in East Lyme during my last two years of high school getting hot chocolates at Starbucks and chocolate chip muffins at Dunkin' Donuts and buying up all the makeup in the CVS - a few new beauty items to kick off the weekend each week! This place has been my home for so long. This place was my entire world. To leave it is something I have desperately wanted to do for so long, but to stay is something that I wish I could do in many ways. But I know that deep down, it is right for me to leave. Although I'm already beginning to feel homesick, I'm genuinely glad about what is to come. However, this sense of looking forward to new beginnings and the unknown also brings a little bit of uneasiness.

When I think about moving down to Georgia for the next two years for grad school, part of me is so anxious. I'm scared to be too happy and too excited about it because that's how I went into high school and I was devastated when high school wound up being one of the absolute most devastating, isolating times in my life. I was such an innocent girl back then, always being a Positive Pamela type of person, looking on the bright side, hoping for the best. I don't think I've fully recovered there -- I'm much more of a realist and a cynic about starting new things now. I take things as they come. I don't expect the best. I look for hints and clues and proof. And now, I've found my heart closing off at the thought of moving down south for this next chapter of my life. I desperately want to be happy and excited and thrilled about it -- but I'm just so scared of getting hurt again. Of thinking I'll make lifelong best friends and getting straight As. Of being that little idealistic muffin, always a little ray of sunshine. I know being realistic is supposedly better than idealistic, but as an ENFP personality type it really hurts when you subconsciously (or I guess now consciously that I've realized I've been feeling this way!) don't allow yourself to be so idealistic and super happy and start imaging the way everything's going to go so great. But I'm thinking there's definitely a balance.

It's time to replace the weakness of fear with the strength of vulnerability. There is a fine line between the two. Fear was how I've been preventing myself from feeling fully and openly excited and happy. Vulnerability is knowing that maybe, yet again, with this new fresh slate, perhaps I will even so, yet again, not make my lifelong best friends and not excel in the classroom. But if that's so, it's only going to prepare me for that special time to arrive! You know, the time when all your ducks are in a row and everything is just great, so to speak. But hey, maybe it's not about the large chunks of time that are like that. Maybe it's more all about the small moments in time when everything just feels good. And even finding that I have the courage to tell you guys this helps so much -- it almost makes me think, "Hey, that's silly! Of course I will make some friends and at least enjoy my classes because I love writing and editing so much!!" I just don't want to get hurt and disappointed again, you know!? I just don't want to crush the heart of that little 13 year old girl again! But it really will be okay. And if this isn't "the greatest two years of my life" similarly to how college was not the best four years nor was high school, that's okay too. Because last time I checked, there will hopefully be a lot more years left to come that can be the greatest of all. <3

So, in all, Life never really is about the destination, I've found. As much as I dislike math *shivers* (lmaoo!!), it's like my junior high school teachers always used to say: it's not just the answer you got, but it's how you arrived at that solution. <3

It's time to change our focus from getting all our answers and all of the solutions, and instead concentrate on how we'll be arriving there.
xoxo, Brooke

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