lauren spitler

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Waiting Game

Twice this past weekend I was asked by two different people what I “do.” On both occasions, like every time someone has previously asked me that question or any derivative of it, I hesitated to answer.

Initially my thoughts are always feelings of embarrassment and moments of “Do I tell them?” and then it becomes a quick game in my head about how well can I phrase the answer to sound the best. The “best” being whatever carefully selected words will make me sound like I have my life together and can be somewhat professional.

This makes me wonder why that is my initial response. Quite frankly it’s because others have expressed disapproval or judgment about where I am in life in the past, and for whatever reason I let that affect me.

If you know me, you may know that I took a break from school, and that break became a longer gap than I anticipated. If you asked me back when I was in high school about my plans for the future, the immediate response would have been that I’d finish college next. That would have been a no-brainer to younger Lauren. On the checklist for my life, it would have gone high school (check!), college (check!). Instead, it’s been high school (check!), one solid year at a very good university (check!), a semester of core gen-eds locally (check!), my Disney College Program Internship (check!), and… working doing a variety of jobs to make and save money (ongoing, but check).

I’ve been asked the question of, “when are you going back to school?” more times than I could ever keep track of. The question itself is harmless, but when asked by the same people almost as a regularly scheduled activity, it drives me nuts. Nothing makes me feel like a failure more than having to always answer back with “I don’t know.” The people asking the question feel bad for me, or at least that’s how it comes across, but do they have any idea how I feel?? Ugh. I feel like crap!

I have two older siblings that have graduated their respective Universities with honors and have moved onto their respective careers and made their own homes and lives in different states. I have a younger sister that is passing me in classes and at this point, it looks and feels like she will definitely graduate before me. I have friends from high school that aren’t close anymore because they have also moved on (literally) and are simply at a different place in life now.

I fell off that path and am having a really hard time finding my way back to it. At one point, I would sell my story to others by saying that I was “making my own path” since I wasn’t doing what everyone else was, but by trying to find my own way, I seem to have gotten lost.

Now this is where you, reading this, are thinking, “it seems pretty obvious, Lauren… just go back to school…you’re the one making yourself feel this way,” and I get that and expect that so you don’t need to share those thoughts with me, but like most things in life, it hasn’t been that simple. If it were that simple, I wouldn’t be writing this post now.

Over the years of concerned family members and close friends making comments about my choice to not be in school right now, I’ve adopted the idea that this should embarrass me. I have felt the need to validate myself to the point where I consider twisting the truth and reality to sound “better.”

I have come to the realization that I’ve clearly been in a season of waiting. I’ve always been someone who likes a plan, but from my experience with Improv, been able to wing it a bit, and figure it all out as I go. This time that I’ve been away from school, I’ve been winging it with different jobs to save money for the time when I do go back to school (which side note is way too expensive, what the heck??). While I’ve been in this season of waiting, I’ve been learning valuable lessons and skills, both related to life and being an adult, but also related to work, and what I think my gifts are in the workplace. I wouldn’t have experienced these lessons, in this way, had I not taken the break I did.

This time has been teaching me and preparing me for things and opportunities in the future. I really do believe that I’ll look back one day and see how this piece of the puzzle fits into the bigger picture, and how this time made me ready for what’s next, in a way that I wasn’t ready for years ago.

I can’t explain to other people how this piece fits into the bigger picture of my life yet because obviously, I, myself, haven’t figured that out yet. I know that until then I’ll have to continue saying “I don’t know” and telling people what I am doing with my time that is not school, and I’ll have to accept whatever comment, face, shrug or sound they make as a reaction (I’m looking at you hmm-ers, ehh-ers, and pshh-ers).

BUT! If you are reading this and have been concerned for me, I want you to know that I am okay with where I’m at now. I’ve accepted it. I can’t change things from the past; I can only go forward from THIS point. Just because it’s a different path than I expected, doesn’t mean it’s been the wrong path for me. This is where I am, and I'm doing my best to look at how I can make things work for me, in this situation, going forward.

I write that last bit as a reminder to myself, just as much as I write it to share with you all, maybe even more. If my life went according to my expectations when I was younger, where's the fun in that? Haha, that would be predictable and boring. Instead, I've been given a life with so many plot-twists, and I'm just trying to keep up! The goal for now is celebrating where I'm at and the person I've become because of my struggles, keeping my head held high, and finding joy wherever I can.

Thanks for reading this far if you made it! I want to leave you with this: You are enough. Don't let others make you feel like you are less. I've been doing that related to school, and it's been unfair. Don't rob yourself of happiness by comparing your story to anyone else's story. Please. You are worth more than that :)

x Lauren

As always, if you have any thoughts you want to share with me, whether you've felt in a similar position before, or something else resonated in some way- PLEASE let me know! I'd love to chat :)

If you're looking for something more to read today, might I suggest my sister, Christine's blog post! If you need a little encouragement, this just might do the fix! (I think it really lends itself nicely as a follow-up to this post!) Tell her Lauren sent you! It will give me some good sister points ;)

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