Growth & Balance

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.  – William Butler Yeats

Growth.  Recently, I’ve been accosted with this idea that growing is not always a pleasant process, but a necessity. By continuing to grow as a person you open your life to new ideas, new people, new places, and more understanding. Living static lives does not help, but in fact hinders our own happiness.

I’m coming to the last stage of the semi-dependent part of my life. My college classes are complete, I have obtained an internship, and graduation is right around the corner. This terrifies me. I have no problem being out on my own in fact I love it, but I do fear the fact that I can no longer be lazy when it comes to my life. I can’t keep procrastinating when it comes to my art, my writing, decisions I need to make, or saving money for the various overseas trips I want to take. I no longer can stay in my comfortable little bubble where physically and emotionally I’m content.

This realization shook me. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a very comfortable, sheltered life. I was placed in private schools from ages 2 through 18. I’ve always kept my GPA up around the 3.8 area. I got my license at 16 and was given a car at age 17, which I still have. I got a cellphone at 10 and pretty much any toy, gadget, or book I asked for. Have had several chances to go overseas although things happened so I couldn’t or wouldn’t. I was sent to an expensive college in VA and stayed in an apartment with 3 other women. I transferred to a school closer to home and my tuition was paid for, for the most part by my father. During those periods of time when I wasn’t working to focus on my classes my father gave me an “allowance” of sorts every few weeks.

When it came to my career choice I’ve always had a pretty good support group. It helps that my uncle can draw, my grandmother is a painter, and my father use to design video games in his spare time. No one had a problem with me focusing on art and design. It also helps that people tend to gravitate towards artist because not everyone has that talent.

Instead of becoming a complete spoiled brat I realized that I was very fortunate. For the last 6 years I’ve worked hard to depend on my father less and less.  Of course some things like college tuition and those spells when I was jobless due to my overload of classes couldn’t be helped, but as soon as I could I found a job and started buying things for myself. I paid my own bills and felt really bad when I had to give in and depend on him. It became hard for me to take things from others. I actually hate accepting gifts for the most part. I always feel undeserving.

I ended up transitioning into a person who gave to others. Whether that be my time by volunteering, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or giving away some of my material possessions. For the most part this has turned out well, but every so often I end up not knowing when to stop giving.  This has led to people taking advantage of me or me overwhelming the person. I enjoy making people happy but I’ve realized this year that with certain people or things I don’t know when to stop. I don’t know how to shut down in order to care for myself first. I give my heart, my time, and mental space to people and things that don’t necessarily deserve them.

I once thought that caring and loving so intensely was the best way to make others happy. Maybe that was due to my sheltered life, but now I know that this way isn’t always right. Sometimes there is a thing as too much and in the end it leaves me hurt and in a bad head space. This isn’t good for myself or the receiver of that behavior if they actually have my best interests at heart.

This upcoming fall season I am giving myself the assignment of facing my growth head on. I want to balance myself. This means that I will take on more personal projects, work exceptionally hard at my internship, focus on my self-confidence, begin saving for a couple of trips I want to go on, weed out the bad people in my life, and work on not giving up so much of myself. I will keep track of my progress and hopefully by the time the season ends I am a better, happier person.

Until Next Time,

-M.A.

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