Turning 23


Haha, so how about this blog I've been completely MIA on for a year. Well let me give you the low down. I'm now in my last semester at KSU (excitement!) and I've been working to set up my senior show PLUS getting increasingly higher profile projects at my job. When my last post went up, I had a lot going on, but most of it was school-related. Since then I've been promoted at all of my jobs, and school has only gotten more involved. I'm now a legitimate graphic designer at the company I was interning with, the production manager at my school newspaper, and production director of our art and literary magazine until our most recent issue (which will be the last one to be released while I'm here). So the adulting has been real to say the least.

In the last two weeks alone I've broken my glasses and my phone, fixed both, and begun the process to get my passport so that I can go to Cuba for a study abroad this summer. I had about two hours of free time this past week, and I'm telling you, I didn't know what to do with myself. That's weird for me. With my birthday tomorrow and college graduation fast approaching I've started switching gears with how I think about myself. I'm comparing salaries and looking at credit cards and it's crazy. But I tend to get nostalgic around birthdays, so I revisited my blog.

This post was actually inspired by the blog post of my coworker and friend, Cory Hancock, in which he talks about how he's trying to work on making time for himself and his faith, which got me thinking. I'd never really had the problem of not enough alone time or not being able to say no to socializing. I had a lot of complicated self image issues growing up, and it's taken me a long time to accept myself. My social anxiety started to flair up in recent years after I left the comfort of my hometown, so I made sure to have more free time then I knew what to do with. It wasn't until maybe 2 years ago when my portfolio was rejected by my chosen concentration that I made the conscious decision to get involved in school and in life. My plan was to gain the design experience that I'd given up on getting from school by doing design work any and everywhere I could. I gave up on a lot of other things around that time. My artistic skill was one of the things I always had absolute confidence in, so when I was rejected by the program, I didn't really know how to handle it. I'd just lost my grandpa to cancer. I'd lost someone I'd thought was a good friend. I didn't really know who I was yet, so I wasn't ready to date. I wasn't in a good place. So I decided to throw myself into career building and see what happened. I remember being so excited when I got the position of Art Editor at Share Magazine. It was super low maintenance, and I was paid like $12 a month, but "art" was in my title so I was thrilled.

I realize now that this was a transition phase. All the things that had made me who I was until that point were changing. It was the turning point for my character in the novel of my life, and my decisions then would change the course of my story. In hindsight, it's clear that the Kelly from before wasn't ready for the life I have now. She didn't feel like anything she did with her time was really her choice. It's foggy, but I remember feeling disillusioned with college and still having no clue what I wanted to do with my life. That Kelly would've resented being this busy and only having a few hours to herself a week. My decision to take on more had to feel like a choice, which may seem silly, but it mattered. Making the decision to change majors to something I loved and to pursue my desired career through other means gave me the crucial distinction that I was lacking in my life. I was working towards a concrete goal rather than an abstract degree. I was going somewhere, and I was finally behind the wheel.

So some of my high school friends made a Facebook page for our graduating class and started talking. Now what you have to understand is that I graduated in a class of around 800 people. So when 750 of them were invited to this page and people started posting about their experiences and planning a reunion, I thought all hell was about to break loose. Turns out everyone is doing pretty great, and most were genuinely happy to hear the stories. I'm now pretty excited to go to the reunion in the summer, and I'm actually going to meet up with a few Atlanta-based people this evening for dinner. It's had me thinking a lot about the girl they knew as Kelly back then, and who she has become. I know for a fact that I'm borderline unrecognizable, but it's good. I like the changes. I'm proud of them, and I think high school Kelly would be relieved to know what I'm up to these days. It's empowering to reach goals. And I mean, who wants to go to a reunion full of people who have kids and careers when they themselves haven't changed at all. I'm feeling pretty good about what I've accomplished in the last 5 years. It's nice to pass a milestone like a birthday and know I've done something with my life.


Kelly RoseComment