Monday, July 8, 2013

Lessons in Life, Love, and La Crosse

I never would have imagined that leaving this place would be so hard. I’ve always loved La Crosse, but I didn’t realize I had such a deep-rooted attachment to it. Maybe I’m a tad over-sentimental, but I guess that’s what happens when you have 7 crazy, wild, beautifully wonderful years invested in this place.

I feel the same way about leaving La Crosse as I did about leaving my hometown all those years ago. Sad, scared, excited, and with absolutely no clue about what an amazing life I was about to have. Little did I know I’d be embarking on the best 7 years of my existence.  In fact, little of the life I had before college would even compare to what I was about to experience. AND I learned some very valuable lessons too! Essentially here is how my life progressed... READY?

I learned that:

  •      There are no coincidences in life. Like meeting a random stranger at orientation, bonding over Wyoming and stupidity, and realizing that without a doubt you are soulmates (seriously though, it’s scary). Love you Amy!
  •        Beer actually tastes GOOD, and your keg stand abilities can become flawless with lots of practice!
  •       $10 bottles of vodka are not good for your liver, but are good for your wallet. AND you can even make lifelong friends because of it… Kevin!
  •       Boys in pink robes are cute.
  •       When a party gets busted the night before, DON'T go back the next day. You and hundreds of your friends will get ticketed :).  
  •       OKTOBERFEST is the single greatest weekend of every single year and you can celebrate big time with very little judgment from others.
  •       Buzzard Billy’s major success in the last few years is mostly attributed to me.
  •            APA citations will NEVER go away, so just get good at it.
  •       Psychology IS without a doubt the best major ever.
  •       A simple life is the best life and money isn’t everything.
  •       Living with boys was SO EASY. AND they were wayyyy cleaner than us girls (610 crew).
  •      Juggling good grades, two jobs, and a heavy social life ($5 wristbands) was way exhausting, but looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  •       It’s easy to fall in love with dragons AND I’m also obnoxiously creative after too many free shots. love you ladies!!
  •       Coworkers and happy hours really help in getting through the tough days.
  •       Rioting with Lax’s finest for the 2011 Packers Superbowl win was one of the best days of my life.
  •       It’s never too late to mend broken friendships.
  •       Bachelor nights with Lindsey, Parker and wine makes Mondays so much more bearable!
  •       I LOVE kids. ALL kids. bratty, sweet, obnoxious, autistic, babies, toddlers, twins. I LOVE them all.
  •       My sister coming to school here wasn't the end of the world, but instead was the greatest blessing. We've become infinitely closer in the last few years because of it.
  •       Some friendships just can't be destroyed by distance and in some cases you can go without talking for months and pick right back up where you left off (Sara and Kristen). Thank you for the unconditional support always. 
  •       Family is, and always will be, the most important part of my life.
  •       And most importantly, I've learned that I have met HUNDREDS of amazing people who have no idea how much they’ve impacted my one little life. I can’t thank you all enough for helping mold me into someone I am so proud to be.

The only problem is… I never intended on this being my life forever. I had always wanted to live somewhere else and do something different, and only because I fell in love did I ever consider staying. La Crosse really didn’t have exactly what I was looking for as far as culture, open-mindedness, and adventure goes, but it is strikingly beautiful and has the most bars per capita, so was staying really that big of an issue?

For me it wasn’t what it had, it was what it didn’t have that I longed for. I like to look at where I’m living in the same way I look at relationships. Am I really crazy in love, or is it this just easy? Am I excited to wake up everyday and be here or am I just going through the day-to-day motions like a zombie? Since the answer wasn’t yes, it was time to do some serious rethinking. Sure it’s beautiful, fun, and without a doubt the most convenient choice. And yes, I had a pretty good life here, overall. So was it really worth uprooting the life I’ve come to know and (mostly) love?

Then, surprisingly, all it really took was a virtual stranger uttering the words, “You’re too young to be this unhappy”. And I wondered, am I really THAT transparent?  Turns out I was, and turns out he was RIGHT. And that was when I realized… I AM SETTLING. In fact, I was settling in pretty much every facet of my life here.  These words would probably be pretty meaningless to most ordinary people, and most ordinary people would brush it off and stick to what they already know. Here’s the kicker though: I’m not most ordinary people. I was, in a weird way, jolted back to life. It was the sickest I have ever felt (without actually being sick), and at the same time the most awakened I had felt in years. So, it was simple. I needed to leave. And not surprisingly, I picked pretty much for furthest place on earth to go. But it’s true, there’s a major difference between being content and being happy.

Let me start on the love part by saying that NOTHING can prepare you for losing your best friend and boyfriend of 5 years. How do you really say goodbye to someone so significant in your life despite all of your hardships? But at the same time, at what point do you let go of the only thing that’s really holding you back from leaving when you both know you’re not meant to be together anyway? And furthermore, can you really happily be with someone who has drastically different ideas about what your foreseeable future looks like? I don’t really think so. It’s true that happy relationships revolve around compromise. BUT should you compromise your dreams and hope for the future for somebody else? Never. Not for ANYBODY, in my opinion. Fortunately, I realized this at a time that still allowed for me to do everything I had always hoped for. If you don’t like my ambitious, adventurous, motivated and save-the-world kind of attitude, there’s not a chance in hell that we should be together.

Believe me, I understand if you don't want to adopt 17 starving babies from other countries. I understand if you think traveling is a waste of money. I understand if you prefer an over abundance of things to experiences. I understand that 40 plus hour work weeks and one mildly boring vacation a year is your dream life. I also understand that my envisioned life is not easy to handle. But all that really means is you’re probably not the person for me. AND that’s okay. I’m embracing the freedom and independence whole-heartedly. 

Yes, it’s INCREDIBLY hard to accept that you’re just not right for the person you’ve just spent over 5 years of your life with. Yes, it sucks that you’ve only been in love with 2 people, but that it’s consumed over 10 years of your not-so-long life. BUT, I did learn some very important things and that makes all of the pain worth it for me. I just have to believe in the three most cliché and overused phrases: “everything happens for a reason”, “when you know, you know”, and “third times a charm”. Aside from that, I guess the key to moving on is leaving and never looking back. That, combined with spending an adventurous year abroad should hopefully ease the pain of saying goodbye to the person and the life that I’ve loved for so long.

The sadness and unsure feelings I have about leaving is quickly being overshadowed with excitement though. If my future is anything similar to the amazing surprise the last 7 years have been, I certainly have nothing to worry about. I have no doubt that there are only good things ahead of me, but I won’t know unless I go for it. So that’s what I have to do.

A special shout out to the lifelong friends I’ve made here. I would list you all, but I’d be here forever. In a weird way, even if I was a pretty insignificant person in your life, you were probably, in some way, a significant person in mine. You all exist in my life for a reason, and I love you each and every one of you for that.  Thank you all for giving me nothing but the fondest of memories to carry with me for the rest of my life.  


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  2. Jerrica...all I can say is follow your dreams and let them dictate what is the best course ahead for you. Someone once told me "if you do what you always did, you get what you always got". I think it applies here. Live your life and do what makes you happy. Only you know what that is, don't sit back and let life pass you by. Get out and make your life an adventure! Go for it!
    Love you! Dad

    1. Your right there some smart people in this world just like you

  3. Foolow your dreams and everything will come true