Let's start this post off with some wonderful photos :)
With work friends, saying good bye to a few at Sweet Tomatoes
Katie and I built a tent in our room one night and invited Abby to come and see
Influencing my roommates with my nerdy Star Wars ways
Working a late fireworks shift
Our last day at the playground! Goofing around with Keriann
A fun day at MK
Graduation from the program with my lovelies
Celebrating Abigail's birthday :)
Friends at the playground
I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning with too many thoughts to count bouncing around in my brain. For the past 45 minutes I've been contemplating going back to bed or allowing these thoughts to take their course, spin through dreams to reality and back again. As I lay in bed and think back to a very special time in my life, I'm close to tears. Has it been that long? What would that time's Whitney say about where I am right now? Am I doing everything I can to follow my heart? Let's go back to a seemingly easier time.
The summer of 2009 I moved back to Florida to complete another college program. It was a crazy, impulsive decision (most unlike me) early in the Spring semester that year. A friend of mine had posted the alumni program information on their Facebook, and I viewed it with secret jealously. What I would give to go back! I loved my first program. I loved the people, my job, the friends, the learning and growing experiences... but there were also things that I didn't think I could go through again. It was hard being away from my family, not having a car and sometimes having to work on Sundays and miss church. But as the semester grew more and more stressful, I began to think: why not? This time I would know what to expect and it would only be three months long. Why didn't I want to apply for the best summer job ever? So I did it and was accepted soon thereafter. I was on my way to the best summer of my life.
Some place between graduating, the real world and my young adult dream state, I left for Florida. I left with high hopes and expectations, but the summer turned out to be nothing like I expected.
I spent the first few weeks in bliss. I don't really want to elaborate any further than that, it still hits me hard every time I think about those first few happy weeks. I want to remember them for what they were and that alone: freeing. That time allowed me to break free of my past and start anew. I was young, I was beautiful and I was happy. That person will never, ever understand what that time with them meant to me. And I'm okay with that.
My job at Hollywood Studios started, and I was content with the way things were. My roommate Abby shared a break room with me, and I saw her often. Two other roommates (Suzanne and Kathleen) worked in the Backlands with us and Katie at coaster so I saw them every so often at work. I built beautiful friendships at the (as I lovingly called it) "stupid" playground and memories that will stay with me forever. As time wore I on, I definitely started to feel jaded at work, but I knew the three months would end soon.
That summer I lived and spent tons of time with five of the best girls I've ever known. Suzanne, Abby, Kelly, Kathleen and Katie are my best friends. We are all so different, sometimes I don't even know how we all mesh so well. I wish I could take time to tell you about each girl: what she means to me in my life and how perfect she is in every way. Someday I will :) There were times that summer when I felt like I couldn't breathe and I wanted to give up. Each of them lifted my soul with their loving hand and made me realize what it meant to start again. I love you ladies... I wish you were here to lift me back up again.
Tonight I've reminisced on that time that seems so far away. I took a good ten minutes to remember my apartment: the feel of the carpet on my toes, the piles of shoes at the door and the beautiful faces I saw every single day as I entered the place. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't easy. My body and soul took a beating that summer, and I emerged stronger than before. There were things I hated, things I loved. But mostly I lay here tonight sad that I'm so far immersed in the "real world," that I've forgotten my hopes and dreams. I've forgotten what I worked so hard for in college.
Let's pretend like I'm still there. I don't have to worry about getting a job after graduation. I don't have to constantly think about the next step in my life: when it will be, what it will be and how I will accomplish everything I want to. Let's pretend like tomorrow we're all going to Clearwater Beach, and I have nothing to worry about and only a beach bag to pack with me.
Seriously though, why am I crying? Because I am not where I want to be. And I would give anything to go back or start anew in the place I love so much. Good night Florida, I love me my sunshine state. :)