Another Year Older

It’s been a while since I put anything on here, and in the span of three months, a good chunk of events have happened.

With it being a few weeks short of the end of the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened to me in the past twelve months that have transpired. Some of those events have been truly amazing. Others…well, if time machines existed, I’d sign up in a heartbeat to not experience them.

I kicked off 2017 with an impromptu solo vacation to St. Pete’s Beach, roughly 30 or so minutes away from the Tampa airport. It was a great time to get away by myself for a while, relax, and brace myself for another semester and all it would throw at me. I experienced my first crab cake as well, which was delicious. It was, overall, a really great time.

A few weeks after, I took a trip to Chicago for the weekend with my friend Bradley. I was really thrilled he invited me to come along with him, and it was my first taste of Boystown, Chicago’s popular LGBT neighborhood. I also got to experience the magic event known as brunch, and I do not regret one single mimosa consumed.

Early March, Bradley and I voyaged to Chicago again, this time heading out on vacation to Ocho Rios. The week-long break from life was absolutely terrific, as were the unlimited food and drinks. I also experienced my first spa treatment in the form of a facial, along with a ridiculous sunburn that essentially turned me into a lobster for a couple weeks. The skin peeling was not pleasant. The vacation itself, however, was completely worth it.

Later that month, I stepped into a new job capacity at the caf: Scheduling Supervisor. It was admittedly very nice to have the opportunity to set my own hours, and while it came with no pay raise, I was eager to take it on as a means of having the job experience. It was, at times, a challenge, and many other times, it was nice to feel like I was making a positive impact.

Two months later, it was time for another international globe-trotting adventure, this time taking me to Scotland, Ireland, and back to England. I cannot  underscore how thankful I was to have the opportunity to go on another trip like this, and it was a very once-in-a-lifetime experience (this time without my phone getting stolen). I had a great group of people to travel with, and our Tour Director, Georgia, was amazing. Every bit of the trip was all incredibly worth it.

Much of the summer saw me working both jobs with few days off in-between. Mid-August, I finally had the chance to get away twice, once back to Chicago for a weekend, and the second to Key Largo for a solo vacation. I didn’t get to see any of the people I had hoped to encounter in Chicago, but it was still wonderful to get away on both occasions.

Early August, I also took an enormous step forward, finally getting out of the apartment complex I had spent much of my college life in, and moving in with two of my best friends. It was a transition that did not come without its challenges for me, as I had to adjust to no longer living within my bedroom. Through the stumbles, it’s been a major relief for my anxiety, and although my anxiety has periodically cropped up, it’s a significantly better living situation by MILES compared to the past few years.

September 11th came and went, and with it came my forced resignation from the caf due to the vacation I took the week prior with it being Welcome Week. I do not regret having gone on that vacation whatsoever because, in all aspects, it was time for me to get a new job. Working a max of 20 hours possible every week was simply not cutting it anymore, and with my age approaching the late-20s range, it was getting time for me to move past the college life. This just happened to be the shove I needed to find a better job.

The end of October came as well, and with it came the loss of my leasing office gig, having moved off-site in August and no longer meeting the criteria of Brand Ambassadors needing to live on-site. While the new property manager, Ester, said I had potential, she felt I was not at the level I needed to be for her to keep me, which is understandable. That job came with a consistent stream of mistakes on my end, having received no proper training and having to learn nearly everything in a direct hands-on manner, and while I truly enjoyed the experience, there were times where I struggled, and my struggles periodically impacted the lives of not only my coworkers, but current and prospective residents as well, and my efforts to fight to stay on were in vain.

The start of my birthday month was ridiculously stressful, having now been left unemployed entirely. It was quickly approaching the point of choosing to buy food or pay my rent, and that’s certainly a spot nobody wants to or should be left in. By that point, I had about two or three interviews under my belt, and a couple interested calls from employers, but nothing that clicked. I came close to getting a supervisor gig at the new AMC theater that opened downtown, but that fell through. On a whim, I turned to retail and applied for a seasonal position at Macy’s. Four minutes later, I was sent an email to schedule my interview, electing to come in the afternoon the following day where I was met with one of the managers, Tricia. After three brief questions, she hired me.

December has been pretty average for me. Much of it has been spent essentially living at Macy’s, picking up as many hours as possible and trying to not think too hard about my next life moves and where my future will lead me.

On the relationship front, some of my friendships with people have taken a hit. Bryan, a Twitter friend I made last year, determined I was no longer worth his time or effort, and since returning to Twitter, has made zero effort to talk to me in months. Justin, another friend I had, randomly decided to drop me out of his life completely. Off-screen, my luck hasn’t been much better. I’ve been stuck in a pretty consistent stream of unanswered messages, with a few failed date plans sprinkled in. I had a guy from Tinder make plans to have dinner with me, only to have his roommate unexpectedly run into some issue, and hasn’t talked at me since. Another guy I’ve been friends with for a while randomly decided to buy me dinner in July and has made zero effort to talk to me since. Another guy I encountered in the late part of the summer lives about 15 minutes away, and also made no effort to make plans with me as well.

One of the biggest hits came in October, where one such friend flat-out told me “I really wish you would get the hint” after my repeated attempts to try to make plans with him after he expressed interest a month and a half prior. His unexpected refusal came with the explanation that I had kissed him without permission, and that he felt like he couldn’t trust me after issues he experienced with his ex. While I don’t fully know what issues he went through, I know I am certainly not the type of person to force myself onto others, let alone kiss them, and despite the fact I don’t remember what he’s referencing, that also doesn’t mean it didn’t happen either. I have no reason to not believe him, and yet there’s nothing I can do at the present time. That said, it posed a pretty big question mark: Why would someone who I have not seen at all the entire year, after expressing interest in hanging out with me, suddenly change his mind and say he doesn’t feel like he can’t trust me? Nevertheless, it’s not my decision. I will never force someone to talk to me, much less date me, if they don’t want to. Still, this involves someone who literally lives a few houses away. The issue here, I believe, is not the fact that he couldn’t make the time for me, but rather the fact that he didn’t want to. All relationships are, and should be, a two-way street. I am certainly thankful he was up-front with me and essentially told me to stop talking to him, and all I can do is wish him well and move on.

At the present, I am gearing up for my final semester of college. I have five classes on the menu that stand between me and my degree. In the midst of that, I’m also patiently waiting to know if I will be able to keep my job or not. I have an interview set up a week and a half from today, and am in the process of searching for more opportunities. The last thing I want is to be left in the same spot I was in back in November.

All things considered, 2017 was certainly not the worst year of my life. It most definitely came with a good chunk of obstacles, but that’s part of the challenge. It’s a game of a bow and arrow. Every obstacle faced places more pressure on the bow, making it bend further and further, but when you follow your arrow, it’ll never fail to propel you forward. It’s all about how you face those challenges. I have certainly been facing the struggle of not having a car this year more so than in years prior, but life goes on. I may be heading into 2018 single for the 26th year in a row, but time marches forward. There’s a handful of friendships I lost, but that’s part of the game.

There’s a lot I’ve learned about how to properly treat people in a variety of situations. There’s also a lot I’ve learned about what I should expect for myself. All forms of relationships are all about effort. If someone isn’t going to put in the effort with you, don’t put in the effort with them. If someone clearly isn’t making attempts to hang out with you, stop trying. No matter what, always settle for more. Set the same expectations for others that you set for yourself. I have learned that while I’m nowhere close to finding a boyfriend, my energy can still be put to beneficial use.

2018 will be a big year for me. I plan on graduating and discovering my next path in life. It’s gonna be a big year for the country too with midterm elections right around the corner. A lot of positive things have happened in 2017, including the #MeToo movement. Somehow, someway, everything just might work out for me.

It’s been a great ride so far, and the journey’s not over yet.

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