This is a very important moment for me. My original goal in this journey was to get 100 posts into the world, and with 18 days to spare, I have met that goal. While there are not nearly enough travel posts that involve being outside Scotland, I think I have been able to give a good look at my life for the past year and some change. Some of the posts are fun, some strange, and some just plain sad. I had thought to do a look back on some of my favorite posts, but I am not quite ready to look back at some of the things that I wrote about choices I made or things that have happened. Instead, I thought it might be appropriate to share some of the things that I have learned while living in the land of kilts and haggis.
I learned how to be a better communicator. I thought that an MA in rhetoric meant that I was good with words, but I learned that I kinda sucked at the communication thing. I learned a lot about language, a lot about culture, and a lot about personal interactions. All of these things will not only make me a better teacher, but also a better person on the whole.
I learned that I can survive dorm living. It was hard for me at first, and I really struggled to adjust to 17 and 18 year olds with no concept of rules, and no sense of decorum. After a rough start I learned how to stay detached from situations involving them, and to stay off of their harassment radar. The second half of the year has been pretty much stress free in terms of them. I learned how to deal with shit in the hallway, having to listen to a girl get Lazy Susaned, and the occasional dance club that happens in the room below me. I really found a sense of community here that I did not have when I was living alone in San Diego. There is always someone here to share a meal with, crack jokes at, and chat with when I am trying to procrastinate on assignments.
I learned that I can survive a walk in the rain. Some days the wind blows too hard to be able to use an umbrella and you get a little wet on the walk to school. Wellies are the best invention ever, and surviving those days made the sunny days here completely worth it. I didn’t even mind the cold. If my BFF is willing to learn to like the heat for me, then I can learn to appreciate the cold.
I learned that admitting I need help is not a weakness, but in fact, one of my new greatest strengths. I do not have to try and fix everything on my own, and just because I ask for help doesn’t mean I am weak, or that people will think less of me.
I learned that I am not defined by my illness. It may take me 10 pills a day to function, and I may always be tired, and on the really bad days I can’t hold a pen, but I am not my Lupus. I am Kimberly Diane Wilder, writer, reader, educator, lover of snark, sister, daughter, friend, adventurer, girl trying to find her place in life.
I learned that sometimes it is good to give into wanderlust. Giving into my need to travel and giving in to my need for adventure has led me here, and this is, by far, the best choice I have ever made in my life. That need led me here, but is now taking me home for a different kind of adventure.
I learned that I am not defined by the life paths of the people around me. It doesn’t matter if they get married, have babies, or spend their days living off their parents and partying. Not all of those things interest me at the moment, and not all of them are getting to do the things that I get to do. All of this is not only normal, but perfectly okay. I cannot let people on different life paths make me feel like what I am doing is not just as important.
I learned that I will not spontaneously combust if I fail a class. Yep…I failed a class. I am still here though, so I guess the world doesn’t end like I previously thought it would.
I learned how to let things go. I used to hold grudges, hold on to resentment, and try to plan my life down to the very minute. I was always stressed, angry and on edge. There will always be things that I worry about like money, a job, my health, my mom’s health, but, I no longer feel the need to let these control and dictate my life. The future is not set in stone, and trying to plan out every minute and every detail will only hurt me when things don’t turn out the way I planned. So far, I have been a lot less stressed thanks to that one. I can now trust in the process and trust that in the end, everything will work out exactly the way it should, and I will always end up exactly where I need to be.
I learned that I do not need to run from my problems. I now see that I am strong enough to handle whatever is thrown at me. During heartstompapoolza, I was ready to throw in the towel and move home. I was ready to give up everything and hide in my parents’ house. When I was having girl drama in Merced, I wanted to come home, and when I got really sick in San Diego, I went as far to apply to CSUF so that I could run home. This time I am not going to run. I am going to go home and finish my degree and then figure out how to establish my career. Most importantly, I am going to go to San Diego with Kelly when I get home and see my favorite band play. Fuck David and what San Diego was supposed to mean to me. I’m not missing the show just because he lives somewhere in the city.
I learned that I have value. The amount of support, love, letter, hangouts, and kind words I got when I let people know that I was struggling was the most amazing thing ever. I never realized how much I affected others, or how much they were willing to do for me when I needed some help.
I learned how to feel at home. For the last 8 years I have been on the move, always getting restless, always moving, always looking for the next stage of my adventure. Scotland is the first place that I have really felt at home. I have been all over this little piece of paradise, and despite the lack of sun, I do not want to leave. It is not that I am dreading going home to California, but I am dreading having to leave the first place that has actually felt like home. I look at my trip back to California as a three year stint before I come back here, or go to a new country. I no longer feel the pull to back to California that I once felt. I need my family, and I don’t like that being here means I cannot always see them or talk to them, but I have been completely independent here, and learned how to do things without a safety net, and I have to say, I kinda like it.
The most important thing that I learned here is that I am no longer a broken toy. A misfit toy, yes, but who isn’t a bit of a misfit? I got sick, but so far it hasn’t stopped me from doing anything, I failed a class, but didn’t die, got harassed by 18 year olds, but learned to ignore them and coexist, got robbed, but rebuilt what was lost, got deferred, but fought for my spot in the PhD program, got cheated on and lied to by the person I thought was the love of my life, but finally realized that that was not my fault, and had nothing to do with my value, and everything to do with him being broken.
All in all, I think I learned how to be a better person. I am going back to California as a much more mature and self aware person. I officially bought my plane ticket today, and now I have a very clear end date. That being said, I have decided that I will continue the blog when I get home. If Scotland feels like home now, then going back to California will in a sense be like going abroad, and thus this blog will still be relevant.
Thank you to my wonderful readers and followers for sticking with me for 100 posts. I look forward to the next 100.