Since Facebook turned 10 this week, I decided to take a look back and see where I was 10 years ago.
The 2003-04 school year. I was a 20-year old junior in college at Allegheny, living in an off-campus house with some of my best friends. I was working on completing the requirements for my Political Science major and Black Studies minor, as well as starting to think about comping in the fall. I was taking five classes (20 credits) that semester, instead of standard four (16 credits), so by the end of it, I was ready to shoot myself or someone else.
I'm 30, have a BA in Political Science and a MS in Sport Management, and work as an event planner for a national non-profit.
I would have starved to death before I went and ate by myself at school. I wouldn't say I had social anxiety as defined by a licensed medical professional or WebMD, but, yeah. Going anywhere alone was torture for me, I would never have dreamt of eating alone.
Graduating from Allegheny was so hard because for four glorious years, I lived in a bubble where my closest friends were within a five-minute walk from me 95% of the time. After we graduated, everyone was spread out all over the place and my social safety net was gone.
I'm not sure why or how, but during grad school, I kicked the social fear thing and started doing everything by myself. Studied, went to the gym, went to dinner, got my nails done, went shopping. I certainly wasn't lonely, but if I needed or wanted to do something and no one was around to accompany me, I went anyway.
I've gone to hockey games, the movies, dinner, happy hour, the theater, you name it - all by myself. That might not seem like a big deal to some people, but knowing what I was like just 10 years ago, it's huge.
My nephews had just turned two years old.
My nephews just turned 12, and now I have three more nieces! What a difference 10 years makes, eh?
Kitty was 10-years old and still the sassiest animal I knew. He was not shy about making it known that he ruled the house and anyone that did not meet his approval was notified by a pile of poop. I mean that literally. If someone was over that he didn't like, he'd poop on the floor; it never failed. He was 100% litter-trained, but he was also wise enough to voice his displeasure when he was less than satisfied.
Kitty was the best. He slept with me every night, and if I wasn't in bed by 9:30 or 10, he would go up to my room and meow angrily until I came upstairs. He honestly had more personality than a lot of people I know and was most faithful friend.
I unfortunately had to put Kitty to sleep three years ago, and it was really hard for me for awhile. I knew that I would want another cat, but my heart still hurt, and I just wasn't ready. I'm getting choked up as I write this, because I miss him every day. However, I have another furry ray of sunshine in my life and I love him to pieces.
My brother got me Miikka James Kittensoff for my 30th birthday, and right from the start, he's been the sweetest little cuddle bug. I got him from a shelter, and all four pounds of him was a purring machine as soon as I picked him up out of his cage.
He purrs as much as ever, and is super vocal. It honestly feels like you can have a conversation with him because he chirps and meows in response almost all of the time, which often provides much-needed comic relief.
He's going to be a big boy and weighs almost 10 pounds now. His favorite thing to do is tear up paper, cardboard, or Styrofoam, which I have never seen a cat do. Sometimes I feel like I live with a smelly little toddler. He gets into everything, isn't too fond of baths, loves to wake me up early, and has the attention span of a fruit fly. I love him to pieces and he's always happy to see me when I get home.
I also have a second cat, Rosie. Kitty would have NEVER allowed another animal in the house. Like I said, he ruled the house; he was king and we were simply his unworthy subjects.
Rosie is a sweet girl I rescued from outside, and she is BFFs with Miikka. Just like a little boy, Miikka doesn't always understand how to be gentle and play nicely, so he sometimes has a problem with roughhousing and overzealousness, but Rosie takes it in stride. She's definitely the ying to his yang.
Looking back, I can't believe I kept my feelings for B. so hidden, as if they were a closely guarded secret. I'm pretty sure everyone, including him, knew how I felt. I could have saved myself years of mental anguish by saying how I felt. Instead, I held it all in, and pretended that I was okay with the way things were, when in actuality, I wasn't.
At that point in time, I'm pretty sure we weren't speaking to each other. I'm trying to remember what is was that we were fighting about that time, but, for the life of me, I can't remember. S H O C K E R. Why are young adults so crazy? If I can't remember, I'm sure it must have been pretty minor. Why did I not realize that a relationship this drama-filled was not worth pursuing, let alone holding on to for the next 10 years?
I told B. how I felt several months ago, and even though it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster at times, I've never felt so good. My heart feels so much lighter and I'm no longer sad because of the "what ifs" I was carrying around. My only regret was that I didn't tell him years ago.
Ten years ago, I couldn't imagine what it would be like being a 30-year old. I had this grand plan of being married by 25 and having a child at 30. I can honestly say that I'm happy that none of that has happened yet, because I'm perfectly happy getting to know myself and experiencing things I would otherwise be unable to if I had a family. Maybe I'll be married by 35? Who knows. What I do know, however, is life keeps getting better and I like that a lot.