Where to Next?
On Thursday last week, I sat down to my final interviews for Thrive With Less with Matt and Josh. It astounds me the leaps and bounds we have all grown together, to the point where I can look them straight in the eyes and open up about how I am actually feeling. As someone who rarely talks about her emotions, to stare into the eyes of someone else— someone who has the ability to judge and inflict pain— and speak honestly is truly a realization of the effect that this journey has had on me.
The true moment of epiphany came when I was out with my mother shopping this weekend. I feel this is where my shopping binges have derived from. My mother is a wonderful woman, and she will stop at nothing to put my mind at ease and see me smile— so sometimes this involves spending money that doesn’t need to be spent. I can remember one instance when I was in high school and aggravated with some miniscule irritation that seemed so severe (as high school issues often do) that she bought me three new dresses at one store— dresses I only wore one time. I love my mother, and I do not know how I could survive without her, but I think it is finally time to give up on the shopping addict lifestyle. We were out this weekend, and I have a profound love for outrageous lipsticks— so of course my head was buried in a hot pink sales rack. My beautiful mother walked up and offered to purchase two shades I had in my hand. For a moment, I actually contemplated letting her do it. Then I looked up laughing and actually said, “But do I need this?”
I left the store without any bags in my hand.
I am very sad to see our class coming to an end, though our documentary wrapping up in this intricate package with a big impact, but I am looking forward to this ending as simply a beginning. I can confidently say that I will attempt to pursue a more minimal lifestyle as I transcend from Mo Hnatiuk, MSU college student, to Mo Hnatiuk, actual human being — giving up my identity as a consumer, buying more locally, actively taking part in my community, and connecting.. really connecting.. with the world around me.
I have been lucky enough to involve myself with a passionate group of individuals who I will now consider to be life-long friends. How wonderful to have been able to share in such an experience as a senior at Michigan State University. This has been such a stepping off point leading me into the next stage of my life.
The Little Things.
With graduation less than two weeks away, describing me as “nostalgic” would be the understatement of the century. I’m feeling my school, some friendships and this season of life slowly falling away from me and it’s such a crazy mix of emotions! College is a process of life lessons, of learning (sometimes) the hard way and of slowly figuring out more and more of who you really are. At least that’s been my experience. And as I sit and reflect on my last semester, my heart is so full when I see how God has used this project to teach me more about myself, my passions, areas of my life that I need to work on and what truly brings me joy. It’s through Thrive With Less that I’ve come to realize that really, I don’t know who I am… or more importantly who God created me to be! And at first, this was a scary thing. I don’t really know what I’m good at…I don’t know where I thrive the “best” or what exactly my niche in this big world is. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the majority of my life being what others expect me to be. An athlete. A good student. A loyal friend. A hard worker. I can write a blog, make a decent photo and write a story for a newspaper. And don’t get me wrong, these are all great things and I’ve done them well… I’ve “passed” and sometimes exceeded the standards of those who set them for me. But I haven’t been great at anything, I haven’t found that one thing that truly makes me feel alive.
And while this was frustrating at first, if it wasn’t for the project, this opportunity to reflect, to go outside of my comfort zone and everyday life, I wouldn’t have known this. I would have continued to live my life for the approval of others, for the act of achieving rather than truly thriving.
So no, I don’t know what (in the big picture of life) makes me feel alive. But I have began to see the day-to-day occurrences, the reality of my life as it, as an opportunity for God to give me His joy and slowly move in the direction He intends me to go. This past week it was through planting mushrooms in logs with Ryan and Matt and playing “whack-a-mole” with Josh. It was through laughing until my stomach hurt at the silliness of a moment. It was through driving on the side of a busy road with Colin hanging a camera out my back window, Josh riding his bike next to me and Matt yelling at me to speed up or slow down all while laughing with tears in my eyes at the hilariousness of the situation. It was through Ryan texting Mo inspiration from the Lion King, through runs in the rain with my roommate Hannah, and having the most serious conversation with a three-year-old about skeletons. All in all, it’s the little things.