In a matter of five days, I dropped all of my spring semester classes, loaded my car with as much as I could fit, moved to Austin, physically wandered around looking for a job, bicycled further than I did all of last semester combined, accidentally walked into the state governor’s office and was invited to my next door neighbors’ Jewish fraternity party.
My friends, my parents and my professors are still not sure why I left. Or what exactly I’m doing in a city where I can count the number of people I know on one hand. And I don’t think I could really give you an answer either. But I know I made the right decision because I made a change.
I should preface that this is not a PSA telling you to drop out of college and run away from your problems. But I am saying that if you want to see a change in the circumstances around you, the only thing you can change is yourself.
I’ve learned this lesson more than once and I’m learning it right now. If I want to change a person, I can only change how I respond to them. If I want to change a conflict, I can only choose my own reaction to it. And it sounds so perfectly simple, but I’ve found that changing myself is possibly the hardest type of change to make.
In just five days, I’ve experienced a high concentration of change in a short amount of time, which definitely increases the difficulty. I could have stayed in Abilene and challenged myself to make internal changes rather than physically external ones. But these five days, having to adjust to new routines, new people and a whole new realm of uncertainties, have exposed things about myself I would have never discovered had I remained stagnant.
And that doesn’t make the change any easier, but it makes it worthwhile.
I haven’t done anything radically different. Most recent graduates would be able to cite similar experiences. So I write this not to share the woes of the “real world” but to tell you that I’ve made some crazy, interesting, difficult changes, and I’m OK.