Recently, I wrote a post about how my views on the concept of “home” have adapted since my temporary relocation to California. Being this far from the places I’ve always known has been…interesting, in the best possible way. I’m learning and growing and realizing things about myself I had never fully grasped before. I’m going to end this summer with a better sense of who I am, where I’d like to go, and what I need to do to take care of myself properly. I’ve experienced some big changes this summer.
I’m going to dive into a topic that I haven’t blogged about much here, but I feel is vital to chronicling my journey towards who I’ll someday be. It’s a pivotal piece of my journey from adolescence to adulthood…from student to professional.
I’ve written and rewritten the body of this blog post a few times now. I set out with a mission to share about the big changes the happened long before I came to California…namely, the messy ending to a 6-year relationship. Farmboy had been a constant fixture in my blogging during the Midwestern Gold era; it is more than evident that he was a large part of my life.
The bare bones of the story go as follows: Farmboy and I’s relationship started when we were 14. Neither of us expected it to snowball the way it did. By senior year of high school, our biggest concern was how we would cope with going to different schools. He was taking the state school route to study agronomy at Illinois State; I was taking the private college route for Interactive Media at North Central. Over the next two and a half years, we learned that time apart and “real life” can change a person. We went through phases of constant fighting, affectionate overcompensation, forced apologies, apathy, misunderstanding, and, at the end, complete and utter denial. Up until the day it all ended, I was convinced we would fix this and end up married someday.
I would have never come to California if we hadn’t broken up. I would have never accepted my first out-of-state internship in Wisconsin. I would have never found the courage to start dealing with my own problems, because it was easier to expect someone else to fix things when I could lean so heavily on them. I had no choice but to become someone bigger, stronger, and more independent than I ever was with Farmboy.
Starting fresh, on my own, and forging my own path was terrifying. It hurt like Hell. Every aspect of my life was somehow impacted. I won’t say it was a tragedy, because it’s a fairly typical occurrence. High school sweethearts grow up and apart every day. I’ll just say that it was the first of many major life transitions I would experience through my early 20’s.
Farmboy and I are still friends. Today, we talked on the phone. It was strictly as friends, and I think it was a necessary conversation. He asked what I was planning on doing after college. I told him I didn’t know where the future would take me, and that I didn’t think I would be coming back to Momence once I received my degree.
Any doors that we might have unconsciously left open, closed right then and there. And it feels good.
This blog post isn’t about breaking up with my high school sweetheart. It’s not even about moving on. It’s about the realization that everything I’d had planned for my future was changing, and that I would have to grow to love that blank canvas, rather than curse it. This summer has played an unforgettable role in that personal growth.
At the time of the breakup, I thought that that major change marked the end of stability and happiness for me. I was in a constant struggle to figure out how to fill the void Farmboy would leave. In fact, I believe that accepting an internship in California was some part of an in-crisis ploy to act up and prove my worth. Honestly, I feel it’s worked. I feel that, overall, my self esteem has never been higher. There are rough patches and bouts of homesickness, but I feel like I’ve taken a huge step in becoming my own person.
I will never say I regret dating Farmboy for so long. In fact, I might not have my love for agriculture if it weren’t for my reintroduction to it thanks to Farmboy. I have to thank him for a lot of things. I only regret that I didn’t end it sooner, when it would have been a healthier and less painful situation. The last year of our relationship was a habit-driven mess, and we could have spared each other a lot of pain if we’d recognized that at the time. Do I wish I would have broadened my horizons earlier? Yes. Do I still cherish the memories that I gained during that relationship? Of course. But that’s all they are now; memories. There are other people in the world who can make me as happy as, or happier than, Farmboy did. The possibilities are endless and, who knows, I could already know my future husband. He could be some stranger who is tucked into his bed in some city far away. Like I said, my life is a blank canvas. Once upon a time, the stark unplanned whiteness left me paralyzed with fear. Now, I welcome it as an adventure. That fresh, unmarred canvas will host my next great masterpiece.
I guess what all this boils down to is that simple old saying, “What doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger.” Change is scary. No one can deny that fact. In spite of all the fear and uncertainty, though, one other fact still remains: change is good.
Afterword: This post was a stretch for me. I felt that in order to share the experience of the personal growth I have experienced, I had to put this out in the open. I have been contemplating this much lately, and felt that I needed to share it. I’m sorry if sharing this has offended anyone or made them think less of my integrity as a blogger and professional. To me, this experience has been a major part of my “growing-up” process and is responsible for many of the decisions I have made leading me here today. Thank you.