So I just came out of a really rough period in my life. People in my family got cancer (mom,aunt, cousins, uncle) during the COVID lockdown which lead to a lack of opportunities in healthcare aka my chosen career field (cause mom didn’t want COVID at home) had to deal with poor grades and extreme lack of motivation to achieve my career goal of going to med school. I feel like I’m finally coming to terms with, accepting, and moving past all this crazy stuff. I feel supported by friends, family, profs, the counseling center. I’m taking it slow and not stressing but also planning for my future in a way that makes me happy.
But...fact is I’m not the same person I was two years ago. If nothing else I feel that people in my family getting cancer and watching them pull through it (or not in some cases), has given me more life perspective in terms of “what really matters” then half the people my age. Also...my 14 year old friendships, and other classmates are not the same people they were 2 or 4 years ago. They haven’t changed that much, (still super close) but things have changed. I’m working through all this with counseling and a LOT of journaling.
It literally feels like I’m Sleeping Beauty waking up from a 2-3 year nap, and realizing that-well everyone else in the “castle” wasn’t sleeping. They were out living their lives. And although nobody has it all figured out yet (does anyone ever...somehow I think not since life throws curveballs), my friends, parents, literally everyone is a little different than how I remember them. It’s like-what happened/when did this happen/and just general confusion? I feel like I’ve gone from someone who couldn’t recognize herself in the mirror-personality wise, to someone who knows who she is again, but who are all these other people/when did they get here? Like reading a really nice book with a 30-50 page gap in the middle, then it starts up again and you are like “What? I don’t understand the story anymore?”
And as ecstatic as I am to finally be working towards my goals, hopes and dreams-I also feel sad for missed opportunities. Some of the sadness is out of my control like the cancer. Some stuff like bad grades or not building my resume was kinda my fault. So I feel melancholy? Like there’s the same sort of poignant feeling you get at a graduation or funeral or wedding-this sort of bittersweet sense that a chapter in your life in my case college has gone by, and you are never going to get it back. So you sort of mourn, gather up the life lessons, and start anew, if that makes sense. Remake yourself in a good way.
So...how do I keep doing this? How do I keep the good things:rediscovering my interests and personality/cultural identity, my extremely close friend group, my interesting classes and opportunities and everything else funny, nice, and just plain good, while leaving the bad? I feel like I’m at a crossroads where I can either go forward even though there’s no small amount of work, passion, and drive to put in. Or I can stay back and mourn the past, while slowly burying myself in memories, which is about the same thing I’ve been doing for 2 years...but I want to move forward now.