Don’t Be Ashamed to Come Home

I’m twenty years old. About three weeks ago I moved back into my parents’ house after two years of living on my own. Why did I do this, you might ask?

Well, my friends, I had big aspirations when I left college. I was going to leave home for good, make my way to whatever big, spectacular city my airline assigned me to and make a new life for myself there. Here it is, though, about two months after being “conditionally hired”…the condition being that I wait until January to start my six-week training course.

The realization that I was going to have to run along home with my tail between my legs for the better part of a year was something that I absolutely did not want to face. There I was – a college drop-out with no money and no prospects. I went through my options in my head. I had friends out West and I knew I could cut ties and go join them in the pursuit of fame and fortune any time I wanted, but then I’d be leaving my family and my hopes of flying in the dust.

So, with not so much as a particle of pride left, I packed up my things after a summer on my own with not a care in the world and made my home to live in my parents’ basement. Livin’ the dream, as some would say.

Knowing I didn’t have many other options, I got my old job back at a local amusement park the day I got home. Shortly after, I picked up a job working as a substitute teacher. On the rare occasion when I’m not working at one or both of my jobs, I’ll try to hit up as many auditions as I can, in hopes of getting an acting job in nearby Louisville.

That’s where I am now. I am substituting long-term at a local elementary school, auditioning whenever I get a free moment, and trying to take every moment as it comes.

I can’t afford to do the things that I like anymore. I face judgemental glares everyday as I walk the halls of the elementary school where I grew up, trying to make ends meet. I try my best to smile in appreciation whenever one of the family friends, one of my old teachers, or even family members give me sympathetic looks and tell me that “it’s okay to take some time”, even though I can tell behind their gaze that they think I’m wasting precious time.

To tell you the truth, when I strip away all of the “other” variables and I’m left with just myself, I can honestly say I’ve never felt better. Ever since I officially dropped out five months ago, it feels as though a massive weight has been lifted from my chest. It wasn’t anything that was put there by any particular person, contrary to what I may have said in the past. It wasn’t the expectations of my parents or the burdensome requirements of classes that I didn’t even want to take or the looming realization that if I didn’t get out soon, I was going to be stuck barrelling down a career path that I didn’t even want to be on in the first place.

My stressers were brought on 100% and exclusively by me and my ability to make anything and everything revolve around me. As soon as I left college I began to realize how small I was in the grand scheme of things and how seemingly insignificant my problems really were. Everything stripped away and it left me feeling like an entirely new person.

Here I am now. I feel like a new person and even though I’m in the last place on earth I ever wanted to be at this stage in my life, I’ve found that I can be happy here. I’m happier than I have ever been, even though everything is going in a way that only five or so months ago I would have thought was completely wrong.

I’m happy.

And that’s what matters.

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