I’ve always felt like there was a little sign next to me that expressed if I wanted to be alone or in company. The sign would light up or flip around or have some indication of how I felt, what I wanted. People could read it and just understand, but sometimes the sign reads differently than how I feel, or how I want to feel.
A big part of feeling alone has been the cultural difference that I grew up with. From my many essays and posts, I’m sure you’ve heard it enough. I was one of the few that made up a small percentage of minorities in our town; one of the few that made up an even smaller percentage of Asians. There’s nothing wrong with that, it was just the social demographic of where I grew up and that is simply fact. The emotional repercussions that came with it weren’t planned, but obviously unintended.
The culture and parenting style I had led me to be extremely social any chance I got. It was like I felt I had explaining to do, as to why I was who I was. So any chance I had, I was determined to convince whomever I was speaking to that I was normal and a part of this city too. But the time I spent outside of school after I had grown out of the phase of riding my bike around with my neighbors, I dropped into being a homebody. There’s nothing wrong with it – my responsibilities just required me to be at home and that’s okay. But I got used to being by myself and doing my work. I would Skype my friends almost every night but I was physically alone in my room and was alone when I stayed up late at night. It never bothered me, I enjoyed the solidarity and peace.
I never felt alone. I felt like this was the time I had at the end of every day to do my thing, by myself, and explore all of the things I found interest in. This blog came to be during one of those times actually. I tried everything from violin to saxophone, from ballroom dancing to running, from field hockey to swimming, from writing to painting, from hiking to service – I’ve done (almost) all of it. I was able to explore different talents or form hobbies into talents because I had so much time to do that.
As I get older,though, I notice that I have a lot more responsibilities and commitments that have just slashed up my time to focus on my self-development and growth. I thought that throughout high school I had grown a lot as a person, but I spent so much time dedicating myself to projects that would propel my maturity and development forward and so little time actually growing. It’s like I took a step to give myself the opportunity to hear all of the advice and pieces of knowledge, but never took the other step to listen and process it to form my own pieces of knowledge…you know?
So I got down to college and continued this trend – I dove right into everything and like a fellow mentor has said, I need to take a step back and smell the flowers. I need to give myself that time to smell the flowers and figure out which flowers are my favorite. It’s really easy to get caught up in everything going on in college and just forget that you’re a person, a human, that needs time to slow down and think rather than just going through the motions and developing a routine. I never want to develop a routine in my life (is that odd?). So I’m taking a step back and a step-down, I’m finding myself to grow into being more comfortable with being alone again. I’m going to go back and do some self-growth/care, really focus on my health and education. I’ve gotten sick 2 or 3 times now since coming down to Florida. I don’t think I’m spending enough time taking care of myself. I finally understand what my Mom and Dad meant by needing time to relax and breathe.
I picked up a book for some leisurely reading – I haven’t done that in too long. I’m going to start painting again I think. Maybe I’ll pick up a new language; I’ve always loved language. Maybe I’ll just fall in love with something and get lucky. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m bound to find an interest or hobby to fall in love with. Maybe I’ll just fall in love with myself. That sounds like a good idea.