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Sunday, August 28, 2011

When everyone else moves on (Sitting on the Sidelines)

I know that everyone reaches a point in their life when they look around at everyone else and ask themselves: "How far have I come?" or maybe, "How much have I accomplished to reach my goal?". I just finished reading the book How to Be Like Walt and learned all the obstacles he faced, and the challenges he took head on. Walt Disney was a doer, and he seemed aware that he only had so much time on earth to reach his goals. I'm afraid I haven't realized that yet, or I have put that thought aside and refuse to face some of my fears. So many of my friends have already moved on and are headed toward their own goals. It's almost like a moment when everyone get's off the train, except you. Just the fact that you are sitting in that seat, with no one else around you can make you question if you made the right decision. I know I have more to accomplish before I head off to the real world and start building a life for myself. It's a transition period that everyone goes through, and I'm convinced that this moment can be the defining challenge in a person's life. I believe that because I'm thinking about these things now, I am headed toward that moment.
For years I have observed everyone else as they lived life around me. During these observations, I have sat on the sidelines, built a fortress, and completely avoided anything I feared.
There is however one moment where I actually felt I belonged, and I felt like I was living life. The Disney College Program created an environment where I felt no reason to put up defenses, and I could pursue the things I wanted to do. It was my first time living away from home, and I enjoyed all the opportunities I took to learn about people, and about the truth within myself. I still look back to those times and have less regrets for my actions than any moment through out my life. This is probably some identity crisis, or maybe even me being impatient to get out there and begin my career path to reach my goals.
I do know that all these struggles, and all this pain I went through are my fault. I refused to open my heart to many opportunities, and as I result, I have regrets that haunt me to this day. Call it what you will, a social anxiety, fear of people or even a fear of myself, it's still a huge problem and a giant obstacle that effects my life. I'm sure that the frustration I feel, and the disappoints I have of myself are normal as well. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has fears, and every one has to make a decision at least once in their life time.
Some people may laugh at me, saying I have already wasted so much time living in fear. Some people may be disappointed in me, and tell me that I have learned very little about life and people. I know many different reactions to this situation, and I still struggle with understanding who I am and what I want.
So let me explain that I know the fault is mine. I have pushed people away. I have enclosed myself in my own little world. I have blamed others for my frustration and pain. I have also flat out refused to acknowledge that I have an abnormal reaction to many normal situations. But, if there is one thing I have learned, it' s that the more you avoid something, the longer it haunts you. I guess it is true that you can't compare yourself to others to a certain extent. Everyone is different and everyone has different coping mechanisms to their difficult situations.
In my case, I am struggling with being proud of myself and having a hard time accepting that I have done so little. Not just with my career path, but with my life in general. And for some reason, maybe because I'm in my last semester of college, it's catching up with me. All the situations I avoided, all the times I thought instead of acted, have shown me that I probably haven't lived life.
I can say that I have reasons. I have been told this by several people. I have a lot of fears to overcome, most of them abnormal. I have a lot of flaws I refuse to accept. I have many opportunities to take advantage of in the future, some of which I already worry about and fear. This is human, but it is also a huge challenge to overcome.
Maybe the only way I can resolve this problem, is to write a story of someone going through the same thing. Sometimes a writer can understand a situation more after they write about it. This could be a story that I need to tell.


  1. Sarah, you have accomplished many things in your 22 almost 23 years. I should know, I am your mother. Mothers see what you have accomplished starting from the womb. You learned to walk, talk (at an early age), learned how to sing,competed for solos in middle and high school. You also have made it through life with a brother with Autism. You have stuck to you family and supported us. You went to college and made great grades. You went to the Disney college program twice and have lived on your own ( I did not leave home till I got married). You have been in an atmosphere of Liberal thinking and have stuck to your guns with your Conservative thinking. You have developed great principles and morals. You have been published twice at the UNC magazine.
    I think that is a lot for a 22 year old. Mom,Dad, Ian and the whole family are proud of you. VERY VERY VERY ...... Proud of you. We love you and thank you for being our daughter and sister to Ian.

  2. Thanks mom :) This means a lot to me.