Somehow, I went from somebody who lived for the weekend and slid by just to achieve the bare minimum to somebody who is in a constant state of stress and can’t think about anything other than school and getting out of college and being successful. I can’t really tell which version of myself I like more.
The old me looked for any excuse to “celebrate” and relax. Chilling and having fun was my top priority whereas schoolwork was always put on the back burner and it received about as little amount of attention that it required. There was no such thing as putting in extra hours and extra effort in my book. As long as I turned in all my half-ass assignments on time and could say “yes” to a social invitation, I was content. Honestly, I was happier at times then. I was never worrying if I was going to make it in life, I was just worried if I could make it to the bar in time for free cover. I was always making up excuses for myself not to worry. Now, I can’t think of a reason not to. As long as I was surrounded by my friends and had a drink in my hand, I was laughing and had a smile on my face. The old me did everything I could to make sure that was happening a majority of the time because if I was alone, I thought about everything I was trying to avoid. Now, the only thing I try to avoid is drinking, so all I do is think about my responsibilities and the other various stressors in my life constantly. I keep telling myself that it’ll pay off in the long run, but to be frank…it sucks.
I never feel like I have a moment to take a deep breath and relax, not even for a couple hours. I feel like there’s always something I could be doing and if I don’t do it, then I’m going to fail and regret it later. I’ve become an anxiety-ridden perfectionist who doesn’t want to waste a second on something that doesn’t involve getting things done. Even just picking up a beer in the comfort of my own home after I finished all of my homework feels like something that I shouldn’t be doing. This all sounds so “responsible” and “conscientious” of me and like I’m asking for a pat on the back or a gold star but I feel like a ticking time bomb that wants to explode. The old me always thought that things would magically fall into place and work out for themselves and now I feel like I’m going to be a complete and utter failure in life if I don’t put every ounce of energy and effort in my body towards my priorities. This is why I’m not sure what version of myself I like more. The old me might’ve been a naive idiot that was always running away from her problems but at least my ignorance was bliss. I fucked up and fucked up and fucked up again but I kept living my life the same way because I knew changing would be really hard. And guess what?! It’s really, really, really hard. I don’t think I’m trying to change my mindset anymore because my mindset feels pretty much changed. I can reminisce on the carefree person I used to be, but actually being like her again is something I could never let myself do.
And you know what? I bet there are a lot of people out there who really liked that person. I’m not talking about the blacked out, drunk version of me. Nobody liked her. I’m talking about the me who didn’t feel like she had a brick weighing on her chest 24/7, the me who wasn’t always bitching about everything she has to do or why she can’t do this and why she can’t do that, the me who was always smiling and goofing around and not taking anything seriously. That me was the kid I never wanted to let go of because I wasn’t ready to be an adult. I wasn’t ready to be like this yet. I wasn’t ready to think about the future, or graduating, or what job I was going to get out of college, etc. I just wanted to escape reality and pretend like I didn’t need to grow up, but now my best friends that I graduated high school with are graduating college in 6 months while I’m asking a Magic 8 Ball if I’m ever even going to get my degree (It said “Reply hazy try again”). Moral of the story, I don’t feel like the same person anymore. The people who liked the old me might not like the new, worried, over-achieving, excuse-making, sober and boring Lauren that they’ve never met before in their lives until now. But like I said, I already feel like it’s too late to turn back. I know what I want now and that my previous ways were only holding me back, even though they might’ve been more fun.