When we’re little- or I guess I should say until we’re grown- our parents dictate every aspect of our existence. What to eat, what time to go to bed, when to wake up, who our friends should be, how much TV we should watch, what is a good use of our time, what constitutes an acceptable boyfriend- the list goes on.
Then college hits. And the freedom abounds. Minus the school work, class schedule that structures your day, course requirements, credits that must be hit in order to graduate, tests, what to read, what to memorize, roommates being chosen for you- and again the list goes on.
And then you graduate.
And you really didn’t think much would change. The people you were friends with in college would still be your friends. You would still have the ferocious intensity that you possessed about reading and working out. Your energy would not wain. And you would still want to party till the wee hours of the morning and wake up for that 7 am yoga class that would keep you in ass kicking shape.
But then a few months passed, a year, and then another year. And then you woke up one morning and realized that things just don’t stay the same. That approach to life is impossible because you are only one person on this massive planet where everything is hurtling forward and there is no option but progression.
And that’s beautiful.
You are the king of your own castle, the master of your domain, you can choose to go to work or to play hooky, read that difficult novel or that trashy magazine, sleep in or work out, go to bed ontime or stay up until all hours watching hulu in bed with your hand in a bag of potato chips. You are your own parent.
A year ago I turned to my boyfriend, whom I live with, and said can you believe they let us live here all alone? The idea that we would be allowed to live and breathe and hang out and fall asleep and wake up together and care for ourselves and each other was so astounding because it seemed just like yesterday that I was moping in my bedroom because my parents wouldn’t let me go hang out at the mall late at night with my friends.
Freedom is a wonderful thing.
But with freedom comes responsibility. That’s a thing, right? Responsibility to yourself. To keep growing and stretching. To become the best version of yourself. And it’s hard when no one is telling you to eat your vegetables and ice cream becomes an acceptable choice for breakfast and food is expensive so sometimes you’d rather just drink your dinner instead at a fancy bar because they put olives in martinis and that counts, right? And after a long week of waiting tables sometimes you just want to sit in front of the TV and watch countless hours of Downton Abbey because the acting is so good and it’s how I get to learn my craft, right?
But a martini isn’t a substitute for a balanced meal and neither is a wonderfully acted television show a substitute for an acting class.
It’s our responsibility to choose sleep over partying sometimes. To pick up that novel that requires a dictionary. To sign up for that acting class that terrifies you. To drink enough water. To haul your out of shape butt to yoga. To stay in the moment and be positive and believe in yourself. To know the unexpected does indeed happen when you least expect it. And that if you don’t take care of yourself no one else will.
Spring is the season of rebirth. Of beauty and fresh air. So let’s all open our windows and give thanks. Take care of ourselves. Acknowledge the people around us who make our lives easier. Those who don’t. Pick our friends wisely. Put our energies in the right place. And accept change.