By Jennifer Cerna
“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been.” –Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Though each day passed in seeming monotony, I can’t say that they hadn’t each injected some influence into my path. One overcast day while riding in the passenger seat in one of my parents’ cars, I suddenly realized that I needed to take responsibility for my life. My life is the way it is because of all of the decisions I have made. Even if I were not the one calling the shots, I was responsible for the ways I reacted to the things that happened. Instead of feeling like a victim of my circumstances, I realized that I needed to take responsibility for those circumstances I found myself in. I resolved to take it upon myself to improve what I could. This changed the way I viewed things and altered the course I was on.
I began to feel much happier, and I started doing things that would improve my life. I felt motivated again, and excited. I decided to really get it together and do the best that I could. I stepped up my policing career game plan. I resolved to eat better and go to the gym more regularly. I met with a financial advisor to help me get my money on a road to growth, not decimation. I decided to avoid any serious dating this year to really work on myself. I dedicated the new year to polishing myself up. This would be the year of me.
I got so excited and motivated, and I did too much. I accepted too many transcription assignments for my other job, I picked up too many shifts at the restaurant and ended up working over time. On top of that, filling out all of the police applications, taking tests, and working out regularly caught up to me quickly. I found myself about to lose it on multiple occasions, though to be honest, I didn’t know what “it” really was. But I also felt my identity beginning to really take root. I am the things that I do. I am who I am because of what I dedicate my time to. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those were the growing pains. I was struggling because I was pushing myself to a new limit.
Relief was a couple of weeks away. I told myself I could get through it because in February, there was a JETAA reception for the Texas/Oklahoma area and I would take a few days to decompress and be alone in my hotel room. To get to that day was my goal. That was it.
Those fleeting moments where I was hit by a strong sense of loss or nostalgia for Japan became less frequent. All of my focus in January was on attaining the life that I pictured for myself and meeting my financial needs.
Jennifer is a JET alumna currently living in Texas. She is the published author of novelette My Imagined Pregnancy: A Daydream Gone Wild and several flash fiction and narrative non-fiction pieces. In her free time she enjoys exercise, food, and movies