Lost in the Light…

This entire summer I vowed to write my first article and needless to say, it’s now the second day of Fall and I’m still at the same place I was that first day of Summer.

The entire Summer of 2016 was one of the most productive summers I have ever had, yet I did so little physically. Aside from working two jobs, I started to read leisurely again. Mentally, I was the busiest I’ve ever been. I’ve never taken so much self inventory, self reflection time and overall pauses just to look around and really become aware of everything around me.

You see, I’m a college student who took it upon herself to jump into self discovery at the early stages of 18 and move out on her own while in her final year of high school in an International Baccalaureate program. Now, I sit here writing the article as a freshman in college.

I’m supposed to be smart, I was raised by relatively wealthy parents and I had most of what I could ask for. What I didn’t have, what I truly wanted was to ease this unsettling in my mind. For years, everything was planned out or suggested for me, to the T. I went through elementary school being told what to read, what I needed to strive for and what I needed to study while not in school. Any sport that I’ve done, I never chose for myself, it was forced upon me. Any instrument that I played was never chosen from my heart, it was forced. The International Baccalaureate program that I graduated from was forced. I never wanted to do most of the things I was forced to do while growing up.

Growing up, you have the generic question, what do you love to do? Or what are you best at?

That’s it. I never had the opportunity to discover and foster a passion.

Leaving my house that early on, I felt I needed to live for myself, NOT in the light of others. I had spent all this time lost in the light, the light of the people around me, the light of what looks best to others and the light that I never found within me.

The best way I can describe finding myself is through light. This is so because, as soon as I moved out I had nothing. I took only clothes, books and some pepper spray. I was lost and didn’t see any light what so ever, initially. I immediately applied for a job at an Italian restaurant with a neon sign. I make a point to introduce the sign, because part of my job (I did get the job) was to breakdown the patio which included unhooking the cushions and putting them up. I had been working there for about two weeks and during my nightly routine, I was exhausted, I was still drowning in assignments for the IB program and I knew I would be up until at least 3 A.M. that night, finishing up a paper that was due soon. I sat down, took a deep breathe, I was so mentally exhausted at that point. Working as soon as I got out of class until close- midnight and then doing homeworking, repeating that daily.

I just sat there on the concrete of the patio, looking up and I got lost.

Lost in the light of the neon sign. All of my panic, my exhaustion, my stress and anything else that was clouding my mind ceased. I was numb to the world just staring at this light. Of course, this only lasted a split second, kinda like when someone waves their hand in front of you to say “hey! snap out of it!”. As soon as I “snapped out of it” I looked around I looked at the reflection of the lit sign on the Italian restaurant and I laughed. Odd right? I know. But, I laughed and at that moment I told myself, Anabella….your life could be so much worse.

This was true, I practically ran away from home, worked my ass off to pay rent, worked to still graduate with honors in an internationally recognized program, rushed to make it to the library because I didn’t have a computer or laptop anymore and I also had no car.

That’s when I took pride in myself. For the longest time I was embarrassed of my situation I had put myself in because while I knew for certain my mind was uneasy, I really at the time couldn’t put words to how I felt about why I left my house.

Now I can. I found myself, I found the light, not just any light.. my light. I learned what it was to truly depend on myself, to do what I felt was best for myself and to just live. It may not have been the easiest way of living, but I survived. I learned. I grew.

That’s all I could ask for. Ask me what my passion is now? I still have no definite answer for you, but I can tell you it doesn’t bother me.

A lack of immediate identification of your passion doesn’t mean you’re failing at life. It doesn’t mean you’re unmotivated. I learned so much from that Italian restaurant, more than I would have ever learned within any textbook. I learned that I won’t ever live to work. I will work to live, I will build a life for myself that I love and I will never stop growing as a person, knower and a thinker.

I take pride in what I’ve done, what I plan to do and the person I’ve become and I’m using that to push myself through this Pre-Med major. Before I moved out, I was lost in the light of others so I limited my own potential because I didn’t truly know it.

Now I know, I can do almost anything. When it came time to choosing my major, I had no second thoughts this time. I wrote Pre- Medical/ Biomedical sciences with certainty because it’s my light. I can do it, I will do it and I know I embrace my potential.

So I say, get lost in the light. Wake back up and believe in yourself. Don’t ever stop. Just breathe, look around and laugh because you’re going to make it.