A note from 53-year-old self to 17-year-old self. 18-22 was one of the hardest times in my life. Caught between where I was now and not knowing who I wanted to be. And, I was ALONE through all of it, UNTIL…
It all started right after graduation from High School. Yep, take away the social environment of having to gather each day with your peers, and life changes. Well, it did for me anyway. I came from a divorced family. I love my parents and don’t blame them at all. For one, I was a pretty independent person already. And as my parents were out rediscovering themselves, it left me alone for most of my days, nights, and weekends. My brother and I had grown apart long before the age of 18, for reasons unknown, but honestly, I don’t ever recall ever having a strong bond with him. Mostly, he was off doing his own thing and was rarely home himself.
So High School graduation came and went, along with friends, and with that my girlfriend of my High School years broke up with me. She was the only string of friendship I had to hold on to. Deep depression was about to set in as I’ve never felt so alone in my life. Sure, I had time to interact with others. I worked in a restaurant all throughout high school with kids of the same age, which was a blast. But for the most part after work, we went back to our individual school lives, as most of us went to different High Schools in the area. I went home to an empty house. My only escape from the loneliness became drugs and alcohol.
For many years, I never felt so alone in the world, and at that time I didn’t know where to even turn. I was mentally devastated by the feeling of having a group of friends and switching to what seemed like not even knowing anybody at all. As many of my peers headed off to college, trade school, or entered the workforce, I stood numb and confused. Still lost in who I wanted to be, the feeling felt as if I was sinking into quicksand. I knew I needed to change but I didn’t even know where to turn to start or who to turn to. Depression of my darkest days set in.
I finally decided to take a few classes at the local community college. I was a terrible student, I hated school and failed many classes, but It was during these years that I learned a lot about myself. One class, in particular, changed my world of thinking and opened my eyes in many ways. It was the only class I went to for every session, never late, did every ounce of homework, and put 100% of my effort into it. It was a Philosophy Class that really focused on what I needed but didn’t know at the time. What I needed was structure to wide experiences, and resources to information, stories, books, and practices to help me navigate out of the dark hole I was in. That class was the only class I completed that semester.
It took time, I was still alone and afraid, but slowly over time, the sun’s rays started to shine into the hole. I finally began to slowly stand up, and after years of focusing on my inner self and learning to find comfort in being alone is when I started to find myself. Learning that if I could be comfortable with who I was, life will present opportunities to expand my world in every facet of life. Little by little, I took those steps, and I climbed out of that FUCKING HOLE ALONE, knowing that if I could just focus on enjoying all and any of the little beautiful things around me that life will change.
Was it overnight? No, my newly found path took time to grow like a newly planted seed. I watered that seed with the knowledge of self-help books, which eventually flourished into conversations with others, which really opened my eyes to understand that I was not alone on this journey. This journey was full of many lessons, and now I was confident to share my experiences. I also learned to listen to the experiences of others and understand what it was like to have compassion. It’s interesting to think about this, but hearing stories from others helped me to see my “perceived” path in a different light.
At 23, I was so comfortable with my inner self, my alone self, that I shifted from trying to fight life to just receiving life with no expectations. It was amazing because only then did the doors to finding happiness fully open wide, and I was truly ready to emerge and enjoy the ride. Trust me, when I say that this was not a one-time “enlightening” experience, this will continue to happen many times in life with various levels of disruption. Trust me when I say, YOU will FALL. Everyone does. However, if you can build on the foundation of understanding what is happening, and have the basic set of tools of knowledge to climb out of that FUCKING HOLE, you will. And with each time it happens, when you fall, the hole becomes shallower and shallower.
Happiness is a choice, and it starts with taking one small step toward planting that seed and nourishing it so that it (You) can blossom. I’ll be here waiting for you. ~ Love Purpose.