If I could go back in time and drill one thing into the head of my 20-year old self, it would be knowing that success is not a linear path. There is an overarching societal expectation that you’ll graduate high school at 18, college at 22, and then either further your education directly thereafter or dive right into a well-paying full-time job. With this expectation as your guideline, anything which happens to deviate or deter you off of this path can seem like your one-way ticket to a life sentence of menial labor and destitution. For some people, life doesn’t throw them many curveballs. They rarely, if ever, deviate from the linear path of success. At this point in my life, I have not been one of the lucky few who never experience such tribulation.
As a lifelong amiable individual, I have always actively avoided confrontation at all costs. Its been something which I’ve always shied away from, but I don’t think that it’s healthy to avoid it 100% of the time. The root of my passivity has always been a fear of backlash. Letting fear dictate your life is entirely unhealthy and silences your voice in the world. When I started this blog, my intention was to share my views and opinions regardless of how they were viewed. In doing so, I’m not striving be a senseless provocateur, but rather give the world an authentic view of myself. To me, authenticity seems like a much better goal than trying to make everyone happy by not taking a stand.
As you may already know, I moved from my house about a week ago. During this time, My mother and I had to decide what to do with everything we had stored in our house over the past 20 years. To say that it was exhausting was an understatement, as it took not only the physical effort of moving these objects, but also the overwhelming emotional effort to know what to do with all of these things. The further we got in the moving process, the more these objects felt like anchors weighing us down. Now living in a different home, I hope to free myself from the crushing heaviness of keeping so many possessions.
I find it hard to communicate anything without first giving a back story, so allow me to give you another. I grew up in a home where listening to non-christian music was not encouraged, and occasionally met with disdain. As a child, my favorite bands were Switchfoot and Relient K (as these were Christian rock and acceptable listening material). Upon telling someone of a new band or artist which I discovered, I would usually be met with the ‘Are they a christian band’ question. If they were not, I’d best be ready to understand anything and everything which these artists stood for and have the ability to interpret their lyrics on a deep metaphorical level. If I wore a band tee of a secular artist, this conversation would eventually arise, and I have avoided sharing music with others to avoid such conversations with others. Until now.
I have lived in the same house nearly my entire life. On Friday morning, the purchase and sale agreement will be signed and a new occupant will be living there. The thought of not waking up at 850 South Main Street again is as alien to me as a planet in a distant galaxy. Everything I’ve experienced in life has in some way included this building, this place I’ve called home for over 20 years. To say it feels bittersweet is an understatement. This mixture of emotions is happening on a much greater magnitude than I expected. Excuse me, while I become overtly nostalgic. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
I’ve always had a passing interest in soap. However, it wasn’t until recently that I decided to take the plunge and make it myself. Many times I’d talk myself out of entering this venture because I lacked the materials, knowledge, and the confidence to work with lye. After having $300 of “use it or lose it” UMass dining dollars left over from the 2016-17 school year, I decided to purchase $150 worth of snacks for my road trip which I took earlier in the summer. The other $150 dollars were spent on 6 bottles of severely overpriced olive oil. In that moment of carrying those bottles of green gold back to my car that fateful spring day, I knew that they were destined to become soap, and that there was still much work to be done.
Let me preface this post by saying that this has little to do with physical treadmills and metal coins, but rather, it’s about the seemingly never-ending cycles that we encounter in our lives and what we do to break out of them. This summer I have taken 4 classes for school while working 25-30 hours a week, so needless to say, I have felt like a gerbil running on a wheel. This SpongeBob clip perfectly sums up how my summer has gone.