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Grow & let go

Forever 22

It is October!

(I need you all to know that I was really going to try to write an actual lede that’s mysterious and powerful and draws you in, and I went with this anyway.)

Actually, it is October 2. Today marks one full month of living in California.

Since arriving here exactly one (1) month ago, we slept on an air mattress for 28 days, we finally received our belongings (most of which are unpacked), and I started therapy.

So much has happened, yet I still can’t shake this feeling that time hasn’t moved at all.

I constantly think about this time last year when I was rushing between classes and events, spending 14 hour days on campus, and writing opinion pieces refuting Columbus’ “legacy.” It was Some Bullshit™. And as much as all of that was horrible for my mental, physical, and emotional well-being, at least I was busy.

I would spend my days with an average heart rate of 140 bpm and most of the time I was yelling, but dammit if I didn’t look good and feel powerful doing it.

Maybe it’s because I’m high-strung or maybe it’s because I have zero discipline and need my schedule to be jam packed in order to be even slightly productive, but working one job from home in the most beautiful place where the seasons barely change just doesn’t even feel real to me.

I mean, it’s October 2 and it’s supposed to be 87° today.

While everyone at home is bundled up, drinking warm apple cider (if you drink it cold you’re a monster and don’t talk to me ever again), and going to pumpkin patches on crisp 50° days, I’m sitting here in paradise regretting every year that passed that I never went apple picking.

Is this what the Eagles’ February 1977 hit “Hotel California” was about all along?

I mean, today I thought it was Thursday. And no, this isn’t the first time during quarantine that I lost an entire weekday somewhere. But it freaks me out to think about how fast time is flying by when it feels like time doesn’t exist at all.

The leaves don’t change. The weather doesn’t change. It never rains.

I feel like I’m living in some sort of very large outdoor mall where everyone dresses the same and nobody gets old.

Like Forever 21, but for 22-year-old me.

I’m living in the perfect place for my very high-maintenance persona but I can’t stop looking for things that are wrong with this place. It literally is like when you’re shopping at Forever 21 and you see a really cute sweater but you’re afraid to look at the back because you’re certain there’s going to be some over-the-top acrylic iron-on patch that says “I brake for fairies.”

But this isn’t Forever 21. Well, it kind of is, but that’s not the point. To be honest I didn’t know the point until I just made that analogy, but I’m pretty sure the moral of this blog post is as follows:

If you pick up the Forever 21 sweater and there’s a Looney Tunes character on the back, you’re going to be disappointed. You’re going to put the sweater down and go to Abercrombie where you’ll find a similar looking sweater that fits slightly too small and is also kind of a bit itchy but it will fill the sweaterless void you went into the mall looking to fill.

But what if you never pick up the Forever 21 sweater? What if it had nothing on the back? What if it fit you perfectly and it made you look hot for the first dates of cuffing season and was also so cozy that it became the only thing you wore until spring, but you never even picked it up to consider giving it a chance?

Forest Gump thought life was like a box of chocolates. But I think it’s much more like the inside of a three-story Forever 21.

Because going in is chaos. You’re overwhelmed but also excited and kind of afraid of the person you’ll become after trying on a bright red full-body pleather jumpsuit.

But that’s the fun!

The fun is in the adventure of going into that god awful store and sorting through the cheapest fabrics that have ever existed and knowing that your best friend is going to find some weird chainmail lingerie set lying on the ground and they’re going to make you try it on before you can leave.

That’s life, sister.

You live and you learn and you try on weird clothes and you hope that you’re having so much fun that you lose track of Fridays.

I know I need to be grateful for everything that I’m experiencing right now, and honestly I really am. Change is just hard, sometimes, and weird a lot of the time, and I am so lucky to have a life back home that is good enough to miss.

But I’m starting to realize that change is what makes us better, and if everyone was a little better at accepting change, then maybe we wouldn’t live in a world full of people who hate what their lives have become, and we’d have a world full of people in funky outfits instead.

Basically what (I think) I’m trying to say is that your life is what it is right now. And whether time feels like it’s flying by or staying stagnant, whether you’re overwhelmed by change or sameness, it’s your life. It’s going to change for a while and be the same for a while and it’s going to fly by. Hold tight to those moments that feel like time isn’t real, because they’re usually followed by an obscene amount of stress (or three months of holidays).

So try change on for size. Get real comfy and truly embrace it.

Who knows, maybe you’ll look hot in chainmail.

With love and finally a real bed again,

Jacklyn

Me, wearing actual cheap Forever 21 clothes but still looking dope. Photo by @Poslifee.

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