We were definitely made to amaze each other. If I were to come away from this year with one thing to say about it, I would say that pretty much sums it up. That, and wow we spend an awful lot of money on food.
I have my last day of work this coming Monday and ceremoniously, my ‘Gap Year’ comes to a close. 365 days of adult training wheels guiding my way while I tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life so to speak. I had plans to go on trips to places that I hadn’t been, be in a bunch of shows, fall in love, eat better, go to the gym, write a book or even just have something to show for the time out.
And let me tell you, it messed with my head, seeing all of this time passing and me just working the same routine every day, not feeling any different. All while watching everything that I had loved about my life over the last 18 years vanish from who I was. I questioned everything. Here’s what I know: I still love music, I still love Disney, I still love fashion and vintage stuff and stories and even though they are a pain in the booty, I still love my curls. I still love God, even though I’m in a funny grey-area at the moment which I never knew was sort of normal for lots of people.
Now there are some other funny little add-ons which make for wonderful additions to the My-Little-Flora starter pack. Like how I can actually put on makeup without looking like Ronald Mcdonald with a built in wig. Or how I can successfully drive myself to the movies (provided that it’s a showing that finishes before 10pm). The fact that I finally made the commitment to getting my ears pierced is a huge achievement (and I look freaking gorgeous). But try this one on for size- after 5 years of false-starts, I finally started Ballet lessons, and I’m half decent (when you don’t film me).
There are some not-so-good changes that I’m working on turning back around, like how often and unnecessarily I swear a hecking lot. Or the way that my patience wears very thin when I meet someone who seems to have forgotten to put on their manners that morning. I could definitely watch less television too (Stranger Things, you have ruined me). I’ve been in a bit of a slump all round. You see, it became so hard to say goodbye so many times to lots of people that it became even harder to catch up with the people who were still around until I became this little hermit thing that only surfaced for the words “food” and “Zac Efron Musical.” Sooo yes, I could definitely change a few things.
But now I have sort of figured my life out and I know what I want to do. Incoming cheesy cliché, look away if you have low tolerance for thought-provoking one-liners that can often be found at the end of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Here she goes…
What I want most, regardless of what I end up doing, is to show people the love.
I got so caught up in streamlining myself that I totally forgot to love my neighbour. I forgot that this life actually doesn’t owe me anything and that no-one else actually owes me anything. When it clicked, all I wanted to do was make things right. I learned to forgive old hurts, and new ones. I learned to listen to people while ignoring whether I thought they were wrong or right. I just really listened. I worked hecking hard. I watched others work just as hard as me, and even harder. It was humbling. And you have all amazed me. Every single one of you. YOU ARE AMAZING.
So advice time from an un-qualified 19 year old with a questionable taste in music
5. You are ENOUGH. Tell yourself, tell others, tell your dog, cat, goldfish, lizard that they are enough. You are enough for this world, don’t streamline yourself. Help yourself to be better, help others to be better but always remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH just as you are. Just be beautiful you. That means so much to those around you.
4. DO the brave thing. People always say that I’m brave because I do all of this out-there stuff that others are too scared to do and I do it without fear. I’m calling absolute bull-poop on this one. Bravery is being afraid and doing the scary thing anyway. To this day, I cannot count a single time when I have been hurt by doing a brave thing. If I can do it, you ABSOLUTELY CAN! DO THE BRAVE THING
3. Work hecking hard. You will appreciate yourself more if you do, others will appreciate you more if you do and soon enough you’ll find that it doesn’t really feel like hard work anymore. It doesn’t matter what you work hard at (as long as it is for positive growth), just throw your best at it. One of the greatest things you will learn is that the world owes us nothing and once you know that, something just clicks and all you want to do is work hard to make the world a better place. It feels great.
2. Don’t give up on your dreams, they mean something. I struggled for a year on whether or not I was going to pursue my dream of performing in musicals, and that was after 18 years of agonising over the same thing before that. I thought that what I was trying to do was risky and that it didn’t mean anything to anyone, that I wasn’t going to do anything to benefit society except play about on a stage for money. How was I going to show people that love inside of me if I was too busy buying into the world of entertainment? But then I read this really cool quote by Zachary Levi.
“My job on my set, I believe, is to first just love people and gain that trust with people where they know that I really do love them and care about their well-being, so that when they are running into problems, they will hopefully, at some point, come to me and ask me, ‘What is your peace all about? What is your comfort all about? Where do you get your love? Where do you get your talents?’ And I can turn to them and say without blinking, ‘Jesus Christ'” -Zachary Levi, “Q&A With Zachary Levi”. Relevant Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
And that’s just it really. Your dreams matter, whether you think you can do them or not, YOU SHOULD DO THEM. You can always do meaningful work, no matter what your job is. The world needs Actors, plumbers, doctors, retail workers, vets, soldiers, fathers, mothers, PEOPLE who care.
1. Love something. Whatever you do, make sure that you love someone, try to love even just a little part of everyone you know. That’s what we were meant to do. Love each other and love what we do. Love the life that we live. The minute you love something, it may just surprise you and love you back. I can’t explain why this one is so important. There isn’t really one reason as to why we should all do this. It’s just some fundamental thing that if you’re not already doing, you should really look into.
Life doesn’t rock all of the time. Sometimes life sucks and we just don’t want to hear about it. But alas, rain or shine life goes on. Everyone at some point in their life will have a gap year of sorts. You maybe didn’t need to know all about mine but here we are so there. I’m going to make a conscious effort to tuck my curls behind my ears so that I can hear all about yours.
Maybe the next time someone asks me “how was your gap year?” I can say;
“I am totally full”