This year’s journey

This year’s journey

This has been one of, if not the, biggest year of my life. Granted, I’m only 25, the age considered “old” to annoying teens and “kiddie” to people collecting Social Security. But it’s still been a significant year. I lived in DC for several months while working as an editorial intern with The American Prospect. I connected with some incredible people. I improved my skills. Hell, I even endured my first snow storm (I now hate snow) and lost 25 pounds (hello again, pant size I haven’t seen in 5 years).

But perhaps the biggest impact of the year has been more self discovery and a deeper understanding of the connections that bind friends and family. I can truly say that I’m a different person than I was during December 2013. Then, I was about to finish college with a BA in Communication and was eagerly awaiting my internship with The Prospect. I was sure that I would move to DC and end up staying there – I just knew that I’d somehow get a job by the end of my internship. I was so sure that I packed up my room before leaving, that way my parents wouldn’t have to pack my room for me when I inevitably got a job (it’s still mostly packed, by the way).

I was confident that I’d land a job – I had met plenty of “important” people and connected with DC natives. Through a then-friendship, I had been able to score an incredibly low monthly rent rate. Everything was falling into place. I had worked hard to make sure it would all happen…and it was about to.

I should make it clear that I did accomplish a lot and have achieved most of what I wanted to during this year. And I really am close to landing a job in DC or LA – I’ve applied to several dozen different positions with a plethora of organizations and elected officials and met and connected with great people who have helped me along the way. But after living on my own in a completely different environment, coming right back to California afterwards, working side jobs here and there to keep some cash coming in, being (essentially) unemployed for half the year, and losing some friendships, I’m in a different place. Life threw me a bit of a curve ball. And that’s okay.

My perspective and understanding of who I am and who my friends and  are has changed. Aside from a sense of impatience (a result of job searching for several months) I feel more at peace with myself and life. I challenged myself by living on my own in DC. I improved my writing and research skills. I’ve learned more about the world around me and been exposed to different, vibrant experiences. Being without a full-time job has given me plenty of (if not too much) time to critique my priorities. I’ve realized that some people in my life were only passing attractions on my journey. Without the pain from being blown off, ignored, or rejected, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I know, now more than ever, that I am enough and that I have the talent and skill to make my future. Plus, I still have some incredible, amazing and lovely people in my life that are there for good. Their presence leaves me ever-grateful.

I feel stronger and more confident. Even my politics have changed, though just a little bit (yes, I’m still a “lefty”). I’m going out of my way to be challenged in my thinking and it’s made me a better citizen. I guess you could call me a center-left liberal who enjoys reading The American Prospect and Mother Jones…as well as The American Conservative and Reason magazine (I’ve also come to find the liberal websites Mic and Salon to be insufferable, pretentious messes – yeah, I said it). I don’t want to be a robot and I don’t want to worry about censoring myself within my own political camp or in other areas of my life.

The uncertainty of the future doesn’t terrify me like it did. After all, life is about learning, growing and making your own meaning, pursuing your own happiness. Will I be living in DC or LA by next month? Maybe…and maybe not. Am I rambling? Maybe. 😉 All I can do is keep living my life and loving who I am. There’s no other way to live as I make this journey.

 

 

Advertisements

I Am *Not* Legend, Just Micah

Forgive me, Father WordPress, for I have sinned. It has been a few months since my last blog post…and so much has happened!

The Supreme Court overturned the linchpin of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and marriage equality finally returned to the Golden State. California itself has been on the uptick as both unemployment and the deficit have fallen dramatically. The national unemployment rate is slowly falling and the national debt is rapidly decreasing, as it has been for years now (no, really, it is). I’ll get to Russia and its f*cked up human rights violations in a future blog post…

As the world has continued to spin and ever change, I’ve also been undergoing a bit of a change in my thinking as well. Aside from trying to get back into shape and lose a few pounds, I have become more confident in myself and my identity. I recently turned 24 and have steadily come to the conclusion that while life is complicated and messy and often paradoxical, living a “good” life really comes down to a handful of goals (in my opinion): Love, be loved, and proudly be yourself.

They all sound so simple and yet they can be the most challenging things to achieve in life. As Nat King Cole crooned in “Nature Boy,” “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” We all need it and crave as much of it as we can get. We find it in all the right and wrong places. We kill for it. We start wars and family feuds over it. Love is all we need even though we frequently claim immunity to it. It is one of the greatest things to experience as a human being.

I have yet to fall in love with another person as I’m a little busy with finishing school and working. But I wouldn’t trade the love I feel for family and friends for anything. It’s intense, warm, pulsating and strikes me at my core. It’s hard to describe and yet something we all intimately understand. That natural, organic, chemical, electrifying phenomenon known as “love” is something I look forward to experiencing more of as I journey through my life.

Of course this love must also be protected and not freely given out like cheap tickets to a has-been musical group’s concert in a casino. I’ve come to realize that love has to be cherished, nurtured and carefully expanded. Most people you meet will only end up becoming (or staying) strangers and acquaintances. Again, this sounds so painfully simple – of course most people aren’t going to end up being your life-long friends! But if you are like me and tend to hastily put emotional and relational stock in the wrong people, this is breaking news. Mental note: just because you have great discussions with Person ABC and share laughs with him or her does not automatically make Person ABC a friend. I need to stop learning this lesson over and over.

Another lesson I am continually learning is to realize that there is only one of me. Since I’m stuck with being who I am, I might as well have a ball and enjoy myself. I cannot be someone else’s persona of me or live my life according to another’s standards. I can’t change who I am no matter how hard I try, a fact I realized only three and-a-half years ago. I am me. It may cause some people to laugh or mock me and that’s okay. After all, if who I am offends others or doesn’t meet their standards, that’s their own problem and none of my concern.

I’m not the best writer out there but I am good. I frequently have trouble staying in the gym consistently but I do go. My eyesight without the aid of glasses or contacts is horrible but I can still see. I am continually fighting my inner demons and never-ending anxiety stemming from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and mild bouts of depression but I am still living my life the best I can and to the fullest. I’m not the son of wealthy parents nor did I attended an Ivy League school with a 4.0 GPA but I am about to finish schooling at a school in the California State University system with good grades (and the large dents in my bank account and small amount of student loan debt to prove it). I love my life and take comfort in the fact that at the end of the day I can look back and say I’ve done the best I can do.

I am me and I am loving every minute of it.

Cheers.

 

Let’s Get One Thing Straight

I value my relationships. I have friends and family of all different political, philosophical and religious stripes. Through all the disagreement and dialogue, we still love and value each other at the end of the day. Life is too short and too valuable to get hung up on things like ideological differences. Why reject a friend or a potential friend because they’re not just like you? Why go through life like that?

I don’t understand why many people take criticism of their beliefs/views as “hateful.” Sure, there are asshats out there who insult an opposing view outright. I completely understand the outrage from that.

However, I don’t understand when someone takes polite criticism as completely negative. The person takes all of their detractors (including people they were supposedly on good terms with) and puts them into one boat and then tells ’em all to f*** off. Am I missing something here?

I’m the kind of person who dwells on things like this. I take  more than I should to heart and I know I shouldn’t. Life’s too short to get bogged down by people like that. I guess I’ll just have to be more careful.