Forward March

Truth - The only way to go in life is forward. We learn from our pasts in order to change our futures. It is absolutely imperative that we keep moving. We have no other option. The only alternatives are to stay where we are or to go backward, neither of which will get us to where we really want to be. Whenever we get stuck in our ways or end up repeating the mistakes of the past, we are tasked with figuring out what is going to move us forward and doing so. No matter what happens we must forward march.

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis

This whole being an adult thing should really come with a roadmap, guidebook, or at least a YouTube tutorial. How is anyone supposed to know what they should do, say, or go? Each and every day brings new challenges and somehow you're obligated to overcome them all or succomb to defeat. That's a lot of pressure to be under daily. It's on you and you alone to ensure you are progressing. There's no one else to supervise, admonish, or inquire about the status of your life. Help now is only given if asked for. Things have changed drastically, and whether I'm ready or not, I have to deal with them. No one ever said it was going to be easy but they also didn't say it was going to be this hard either. Adulthood should come with a warning label, cautionary signage, or danger alerts. All this constant uncertainty just as much as the unbridled freedom that comes along with it, can be overwhelming. What do you do when you can pretty much anything? The easiest things come to mind but they are not always what is best for me. Ordering in, doing things last minute, parking close to the store, purchasing the cheaper item, etc. are all simpler but they are complacent, unimaginative, boring, and frankly kind of lazy. I have to be better, strive for the best, and never settle. I deserve a larger than life existence and the only way to get it, have it, and hold on to it is to always go above and beyond, or at least a little than you're used to. That's how you forward march.

As someone who tends to identify more with the thought processes, actions, and social understandings of introverts, living by myself has been a major adjustment in a multitude of ways. I have the option each day to be by myself, undisturbed, uninterrupted, unchallenged or to venture out and socialize. The latter tends to happen less than it should at this point but when I make friends and know where people congregate then I'll probably make more of a diligent effort to put myself out there. For now it's catching up on Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy in the perfectly pristine comfort of my cinnamon spice scented apartment alone. Putting myself out there has always been a hidden battle. Others perceive me to be someone highly social but even in those settings I see myself in the background observing, judging, and trying to figure out if/where I belong. I can't stay cooped up here forever though, at some point it'll be time to trust my assessments of others and situations to fully indulge in them. Taking advantage of opportunities, experiences, and connections is something that I have to be intentional about. The only way to forward march is to do it yourself.
This past weekend saw me doing just that. Finally conquering my suburban fears of city life and wholeheartedly embracing the microcosm of culture, diversity, and wonder that Cleveland has to offer. Saturday I met up with old friends/colleagues Nakiya & Brandon to explore the museum of art. It never ceases to amaze me what kind of gloriously imaginative things people have been able to produce. The intricacy, keen attention to detail, and rich context brought to life by the pieces was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Each piece had a story to tell and an artist that composed it. From there we hit Barrio, a restaurant with some delectable tacos. It was student affairs talk all around and I listening to all the stories of the group taking it all in. I felt a little too young but it was definitely all in my head. I hung out with Brandon conversing about life, social justice, and higher ed in general for a few good hours. Talking to other people about this chosen career path always gives me hope and relief in knowing that I'll eventually figure it all out. The next day I spent lazing around before meeting up with my newest partner in crime in Tyler. We took some roundabout detours but made our way to Lake Erie and hung out talking about advocacy, allyship, and our hopes/fears for grad school while dipping our feet in the water. The waves splashed us a few times but being a mess comes with the territory. We travelled into the city, found a parking garage and walked around wide-eyed and in pure awe. We stumbled upon a cupcake shop and had a deep conversation about sexuality fluidity and religious tolerance with the cashier there. It was so powerful to have such a candid conversation with a total stranger.

On her suggestion we dined at Noodle Cat for some epic ramen. My chopstick wielding was less than perfect but I made do. We conquered the parking toll and made our way back to the east side. Ellen's Heads Up was on the docket for a bit before calling it a night. Those two days were exactly what I needed to feel more settled, put together, and overall okay with being here. I had such a genuinely good time and had my nerves calmed down for the first time since arriving in Cleveland. I am grateful for old friends and new friends alike. We'll be marching forward through the chaos together. Monday arrived and with it came my first day of work. I wasn't too nervous but it was a memorable day for sure. I thoroughly enjoyed the office staff and quickly picked up on their distinct personalities, slight quirks, and upbeat energy. What I gathered most was that each and everyone there was genuinely excited for us to be there, selflessly ready to support us, and highly invested in forming relationships with other people. My new supervisor made a three minute appearance that quelled all my fears with a singular Batman reference. He also looks like Sebastian Stan (aka the Winter Soldier) and picked up on my understated muttered humor. Meeting him sealed the deal and made my day. I can tell your right now that we will definitely be the bad boys of the office and terrorize all the rest but most definitely demolish our work collaboratively as well. I'm sincerely looking forward to getting to know everyone better and find my place in our office community. It's going to be a memorable two years. All together, we'll make it - forward march.

Progress comes easiest when you allow it. Change is inevitable. Resistance is futile. The future can be a wonderful if you let it be. The relationships you get to build, the impact you get to have, and the memories you get to make are things not to fear but to truly look forward to. Each and every day is a chance to start fresh, do good in the world, and move forward with all those around you. Forward march with all that you are and all that you can. It's where we're meant to be. X

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