Growing up, I always felt that people were overestimating me. I honestly think that as long as homeschooling has been popular, there has been the opinion or perspective that homeschoolers are smarter than their traditionally educated counterparts. Now, whether or not this is true, I don’t know. And I don’t care. When I was little, people would immediately gush over me and my siblings and talk about how smart we must be because we were homeschooled. I grew up knowing that people expected me to succeed in life and become something because I was homeschooled. I didn’t particularly care for it because I found it annoying. Was I smart because I was homeschooled or was I homeschooled because I was smart? For the most part, I did get a chance to live up to the “smart” expectations–at least by society’s measurements. I was a senior in high school at age 15 and had the luxury of finishing high school a month after my 17th birthday and taking a year off to chill out before I went to college. In more recent years, I’ve gotten the chance to separate myself from the “kid genius” expectations and quietly do what I need to do. In fact, the tables have turned to the point where I’m often underestimated. It’s mildly annoying to have people around me assume that I’m still in college or that I don’t have anything going for me. Yet, I’d rather be underestimated than over estimated. Being underestimated can put you in a spot where you are your biggest competition. You have less time to invest in pleasing others or meeting their standards because they don’t expect you to do anything worthwhile. I’m not talking about constantly downplaying your accomplishments, but also not going out your way to be flashy and dramatic about all your future plans. If I ever become “big” or super successful I want it to be unexpected. Being successful doesn’t have to be advertised, it can be discreet. Underestimation isn’t a bad thing–it can even work for you.
Loneliness has been a companion for me during the past few years. Partly due to my personality and partly due to circumstances. It’s commonly thought one’s loneliest times occur in sadness and hardship. When you’re going though a lot and there’s not an encouraging word or a should to vent and cry on. As someone who has experienced this, I can attest to this feeling and it is indeed pretty darn lonely. However, there’s a different kind of loneliness that I experience from time to time. It’s not as easy to explain because the circumstances are different and it hurts differently. This loneliness occurs whenever I accomplish something or reach a milestone in my life. I actually had the distinct pleasure of experiencing it this past week. This particular type of loneliness stems not from sadness but from happiness. I’m 23 and I’ve been super super blessed/lucky/fortunate to be able to accomplish many of my professional goals. Bachelor’s,Master’s, Post-graduate, etc. But with each of these accomplishments I feel the absence of a significant other pretty acutely. A person who has seen all my hard work and can be happy for me with the informed perspective of someone who has witnessed the challenges I’ve faced on the way to get where I wanted. And while it genuinely sucks to feel the absence of something like that so acutely, I’ve almost gotten used to it. I say “almost” because its not something I’ll ever be ok with but it’s my life. While I do stay in my feelings at times, I also know how to self-regulate and pull myself out. A skill that’s probably due to countless hours of CBT class. I say all that to say that sometimes it’s harder being happier alone than it is being sad. At least in my experience.