I’ve been told that I’m a pretty good storyteller and I think it’s been a while since I’ve told you all a story.
It was 2015 and I was nineteen years old; I was in a long-term relationship with a boy who I was absolutely certain was a integral part of my future. I thought that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together (and I was so certain of it).
It was mid-summer and I was working grueling, exhausting shifts as I had basically signed my summer away in exchange for free summer housing at my university. It didn’t help that the love of my life (or so I thought) was halfway across the continent in rural Mexico without any wifi or cellular signal, and it didn’t help that my roommate was problematic and my job was ridiculous. Oh, and I was taking a full summer courseload and trying to pay for it all on my own.
Bottom line, I really missed my boyfriend and things were stressful as hell.
My friend Olivia and I were hanging out casually talking with some coworkers and I was talking about my boyfriend. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was the girl who talked about her boyfriend too damn much (and at that very moment in time I talked about him a lot because I missed him!). I know it sounds inconceivable because I’m so independent and totally different now, but that’s who I was at that moment.
“God, do you ever stop talking about your boyfriend. Just stop talking about your fucking boyfriend,” this coworker had said. Everyone in the room stopped, and looked at me, waiting for a reaction. I was fuming, furious, and on the verge of annihilating her with a death stare. I didn’t even have a sassy comeback or intelligently respond, which is rare for me, I just walked away.
Because her comment not only deeply offended me, but it reminded me that my favorite person was thousands of miles away. And I started crying, not slow motion single tear rolling down my face crying, but absurdly ugly-crying. I felt like everything that had gone wrong that summer had hit me and that even though we all knew I missed him, that single comment made me really aware that he was so far away. I hadn’t talked to my boyfriend in weeks, and it was incredibly hard. People in long distance relationships had the internet or FaceTime, I only had faith.
My friend Olivia sat with me, and calmed me down in my ridiculous state, as I scrambled to find the words to explain myself. Although she assured me that it was perfectly normal to respond like that (now, retrospectively I think she’s so nice because I genuinely think my reaction was ridiculous), fumbled words came out of my mouth.
“I just feel like part of me is missing, like the light in my life is gone,” I sobbed, as we sat in the courtyard of the dorms.
And now, years later, I think of this story and I am so damn embarrassed that I called a boy “the light in my life.” Especially since it’s that boy.
I think about how so much time has passed but in reality it was only a few summers ago. I’m turning twenty two soon and my life couldn’t be any more different now than it was back then.
When I ask myself what the light of my life is now, what keeps me going and makes me absolutely and unbelievably happy, I think of two things immediately. I think of my career and how I’m so excited to continue my education; I also think of how much I love this blog and how happy it makes me. I love blogging and it’s no secret that I love doing this (I’m so grateful for all of you and I wouldn’t be able to do this if I wasn’t for you guys!).
I am a firm believer that you don’t need a relationship to be happy and it’s something that I believe I learned way too late. But the truth is, when you find something that you’re passionate about and continually make it blossom, that’s the absolute best thing to light up your life. Find whatever makes you happy and do it… contrary to what people might think, there might be a few things. And I consider it a blessing that I have a few things that are “the light in my life.”
Sometimes I remember this story and I am tremendously embarrassed, and sometimes I remember this story and I reflect on things. I’ll be honest… most of the time I’m embarrassed because I was soooo enamored with my boyfriend from undergrad.
But the honest truth is, I was young and I didn’t know better. And in that moment, that relationship was something that made me tremendously happy and fulfilled. And I am so, so lucky that today I get that feeling from not someone else, but from myself. I get that feeling from working on the passion project of a lifetime (my blog) and focusing and working on my career. I think that it’s so much better to be self-fulfilled.
And who knows what the “light in my life” will be years from now when I’ve achieved my career goals or when I graduate from grad school?
I will tell you though, it won’t be a boy (unless I have a son). But it will be something that I am passionate about that makes me happy and fulfilled.
“I’ve noticed that the more professional success I have, or the more happy I am professionally, the less I worry about that because I have a great deal of professional confidence. I’ve noticed whenever I’ve felt the most boy crazy or when I wanted to get married it was when I was not so happy professionally.”
What is the light in your life? What’s something that makes you feel fulfilled and happy?