Change is Scary. Change is Good.

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.

Senior prom. He surprised me with a '57 Rolls Royce to drive us to the dance. My mom snapped this right after I saw the car. At the time, I thought this would last "forever."

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.

My sister and I on Christmas Eve of 2010. It was one of the first pictures taken of me after Farmboy and I broke up. The holidays were hard without him and our traditions, but I somehow survived them and came out stronger and more independent on the other side.

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.

At the end of senior year of high school, I thought I had my act together. I thought I knew where life would lead me. It's amazing how the things we least expect are the ones that have the largest impact on us. I've learned so much since this picture was taken.

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.

These are good memories, and they've helped form me into who I am today. I'm forever grateful for them. I am now learning to thrive in a world of constant change. Thanks for the memories and the friendship, Farmboy.

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.


8 thoughts on “Change is Scary. Change is Good.

  1. I enjoyed the post, Kelly. Thank you for sharing.

    I have a sign in my kitchen that reads: “May God give me the serenity to accept the things that I can not change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    You never know where your life might take you (I ended up from South Florida to New Hampshire to Central Nebraska), but your life is what you make it. That blank canvas is one of the most wonderful blessings that you have!

    All the best,
    Anne Burkholder
    “Feed Yard Foodie”

    • Hi Anne! That Serenity Prayer is something I used to turn to a lot when I was younger, especially following my father’s passing. I had kind of forgotten about it in recent years, thank you for the reminder. I think I still had some dose of healthy fear mixed in, but I’ve kind of subscribed to a “what happens, happens” mentality. I will do my best to make the most out of where my life takes me, and to control what I can to make my life as happy and productive as possible. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, and best wishes!

  2. Kelly,
    Congrats on the courage to write this, we all have times where something happens that forces us to reevaluate where we are and what we’re doing in life. Sometimes, its the result of a mistake, sometimes, in the case of yours, its a result of growth.
    Mine was due to mistake, I’ll spare the details, but simply put, I bowed to parental pressure and went to a university that was convenient. In all fairness, my first choice would not have been the best fit either but after 2 yrs, I was at a crossroads – drop out, or do an exchange. I chose the second and moved to Alberta for a year. Without all the little things that happened because of that, I would not be where I am today and I’m thankful that it worked out the way it did.
    Change is hard, but necessary, thank you for sharing yours and I wish you the best in your journey.

    • Joe, thanks so much for sharing. I think every faces multiple situations like this in life. Some people deal with it more than others. It’s up to us to learn and grow from them, and I personally think sharing is a great learning tool for others as well. College is a major time in our lives when we figure out who we are, and I faced a similar situation last year. (Although, I think part of my situation was caused by the fact that I wanted to save my relationship with Farmboy and considered transferring to his school.) Thanks for reading and commenting, and best of luck.

  3. Kelly, never doubted for a moment what you are capable of, you are strong and independent. I saw that when your dad died, but the growth you have experienced in the past 8-9 month is just unbelievable and I am so very proud of you! You paint that white canvas a beautiful picture as only you can do!
    Love, Mom

  4. This was probably a tough post to write, Kelly. It’s a good one, though.

    I’ve only known you through your Twitter posts over the last 2(?) years, but even just from that vantage point, you’ve changed a lot. Going to California for the summer was an awesome thing to do, and that experience is probably going to influence you for a long time. Wishing you all the best on your journey!

    • Thanks, Jim. It has been about 2 years…wow, I can’t believe I have been active in the ag community on Twitter that long! It’s been an interesting journey to get to where I am. You’re right, and I wouldn’t trade this adventure for anything. It’s been fantastic. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, and when I get back to the midwest, we’ll have to figure out a time to meet up (probably after harvest).

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