Sometimes I just need to slow down and breathe.
At the beginning of summer, I was living with two super cool roommates who also happened to be the foodservice directors at my college. The one roommate and I were working on writing a song which we were planning to record, and I had bought the first part toward my new computer build. I was looking at making a trip back to Wisconsin for the state exam so I could pursue a youth counselor position at the one remaining maximum security state juvenile corrections facility, and was planning the loose-ends portion of the rest of my undergrad education around the idea of moving back north after December. I was actually starting to calm down and settle, and that made me happy (something I don’t feel very often, so I always enjoy it while it lasts). But then all of my plans (and my roommates’) were turned upside-down seemingly at the drop of a dime when they told me that their jobs were being transferred to Kansas.
As happens with any big, life-changing news, I was flooded with emotions ranging from excitement for my roommates to bitterness toward the inevitable ramification of having to move out, to sadness toward the prospect of them leaving. Over the next several weeks, the big and beautiful house we shared went from elegant and clean to disarrayed and dirty, to spotless and empty. My roommates went from planning trips to planning what was moving and what was staying. I went from looking at a new computer to looking at apartments which, if you had followed my vlogs, was a bit of a frustrating process. I moved into a new apartment and shortly after went from the prospect of having two roommates to split costs with to the imminent reality that I will now be left alone in eleven days until the other guy can come in September, and this being August, one of two of my most expensive months of the year, due to the fact that they are my semi-annual auto insurance months. The two trips I was hoping to have already taken to visit a close friend in Indiana haven’t happened, and we’re just now looking at the end of September. And other things have been happening recently that only add frustration on top of frustration.
I also started a new job, which is showing enough promise that I’m seriously contemplating staying in Missouri past December. As cool and exciting as the job is, it’s also frustrating that it’s happening now. I really want to go back to Wisconsin and work at this juvi (oh, how I want to so badly), but this job is actually offering an escape from something that I don’t really want to deal with which would be involved with moving back north. Moving back to Wisconsin would mean being back in the same state as my parents, and while that may be a cause for excitement to some people, it’s only cause for more anxiety to me. I was already anxious about that fact, and then I told my dad about working at the juvi; that seems like it was such a mistake. Normally, parental support would be totally rad; when it comes to my dad, not so much. He tends to be overly pushy when it comes to things he thinks his kids should do. Some of you may understand this; your parent starts telling you what “you need to do,” and “you really ought to be doing this,” and then starts asking, “so, have you done this yet? Why not? What could possibly be more important than this?” Normal stuff, until it becomes, “You never listen to me. You only do what you want. You have no respect for me.” Suddenly, support turns into control. I find myself not wanting to go work at the juvi simply for sake of not wanting to give my dad some sort of positive reinforcement for his controlling behavior. And honestly, that feels pretty fucked up to me (the situation, the fear it puts into me, that I’m so afraid of it, and that I let it control me so much).
I really don’t want to stay in Moberly. I really want to go back to Wisconsin and pursue this job at the juvi. I know it would be more fulfilling in every way (spiritually, emotionally, and even financially). I know I’d feel more at home if I were in the company of ‘sconsinites and Cheeseheads. I know that this job, no matter how much I enjoy it, isn’t really something I’d like to do for the next ten years. The friends I have here are gradually leaving, and the ones who are still here will leave eventually; I cannot escape the nagging reality that college is only temporary, and this being my fifth year, I already feel like I’ve overstayed my welcome and that I need to be getting on my way. I find myself tempted to be jealous of people my age who seem to have so much going for themselves (money, wives, kids, etc.) but I quickly forget how meaningless those things are, how temporary this life truly is, how important it is to do what’s really going to leave an indelible mark on the world, and how anything that’s not done for the glory of God will burn away on the day of judgment like the fluff that it is. It kills me that I feel so powerless and small when it comes to this anxiety, and I’m ashamed to admit that I still try to find solace in things outside of Christ. “At least I have an apartment. At least I have a car that runs. At least I have…” Sigh. Solace found in earthly things is selfish, and hope placed in the temporal is no hope at all. How quickly I forget all that Christ came for.
After a year-long hiatus from ministry and church, a period during which I put my faith under a microscope and nearly threw in the towel on Christianity out of frustration over the reality that grace cannot be earned, I’m finally getting involved again. I’m nervous. not because I feel the need to prove myself, but because my own inadequacy is super apparent to me. I recently picked up an electric guitar again, and realize that I’m not a lead guitarist anymore. Things that felt so easy and simple to play just two years ago I just can’t play anymore. I listen to old recordings and think, “Man, I remember that. I wrote that? There’s no way. I used to be able to play that?” I quit ministry and music in 2013 because music had been my idol and I had used ministry as a platform for my own selfish musical interests, all while I was willingly and deliberately living in other sin. I vowed not to play music in church again, and I’m still holding to it. But, I do want to get involved with tech; not because I love tech, but because I don’t want to let my talents only be used for financial gain. It may seem silly, but I actually feel bad if I’m only using my technical abilities for myself and not to help others.
But I’m also a little nervous because my decision to get re-involved in a church is coming up very close to the start of what will likely be a very busy semester. The semester, of course, is also coming up while I’m still acclimating to a new job. Meanwhile, I still have internship reports waiting to be written (okay, don’t have any pity for me on this one, I totally brought it on myself by not doing them sooner), and I know I’m going to be asked to help score the TJTAs that all the incoming students will take during registration week (which could be an all-nighter). And there are a couple other things that I’d rather not mention here, but could be best summarized in the word “blah.”
Needless to say, I really need to slow down and breathe. I tend to vacillate between doing very little and doing far too much, and at 24 years old I can honestly say that I clearly have no idea what the word “balance” means. I desperately hope that I can learn some balance during this upcoming semester, because without it (or without someone to help keep me in balance) I fear another 6-month-long episode of depression. Let’s not go there, eh?
Anyway, since my ADD has had me bouncing around from one idea to another and struggling to maintain something that may hopefully resemble a coherent topic in this post, I’m going to wrap this up with another work video, this one from today. For the non-tech-savvy people, I basically installed a giant cooler inside of a computer so that it can do voodoo magic technological nerdery. Okay.