I’m sitting on Lake Latonka by myself and I’m reminded of how crazy life is. If not for my Dad’s job, I would have no desire to be in western Pennsylvania, and likely would have never come here. I haven’t been so far north in a long time. I can’t tell if the weather is expressing malaise or if this just normal early mists of the morning for the hills in this area. I’ve no idea how I’ve gotten so far in my life, it all feels by chance. At one point, my anxiety was so bad I scarcely expected to finish my bachelors… let alone pursue a PhD.
At this gathering before going off by myself during a business meeting, a young girl just out of high school introduced herself to me. I was instantly impressed because at that age I wanted to retreat into myself, devour myself much more than I do now. I never would have approached people at a business function. She told me about her internship and I asked pertinent questions and praised her for such a resume builder, praise that she probably didn’t need. The summer before my undergraduate studies I certainly had no internship. I was fighting my future and all its potential and scary change and possibilities… a futile effort. I was panicking about having to meet new people and to try to sound smart and make a good impression at yet another new school. I was completely naive and self absorbed, oblivious to my own insignificance. But this girl didn’t seem insignificant. She appears bright-eyed and full of potential. It’s difficult for me to think anyone ever had such a thought about me at that age.
But as I’ve grown, I’ve cared less and less about making impressions on people. If they misunderstand me, I can try to correct it, if given the chance, but I no longer agonize over if someone will like me or not because the truth is, I don’t like most people. I prefer my own company and those of a select few. I have a genuine compassion for my fellow human, but I do not need to feel the approval of others like I used to … it is no longer such a source of stress for me. Maybe it just took me longer to learn that.