Growing up, I became accustomed to change. My family moved around a lot, and by a lot, I mean I moved almost every single year since I was eight or nine. We weren’t a military family. In fact, we would sometimes rent a new house just down the street from our old one. It was more about resources, and how they were more plentiful in one house than another. However, after so long of playing hot-potato-house, I can no longer stay put for too long.

In July of 2015, I started college in Orlando to get a BFA in Creative Writing. I rented an apartment and by the end of its lease, I moved to another apartment. Even though I was given the opportunity to just stay put, I simply couldn’t. On top of that, the school I go to is highly accelerated. I’ll get my BFA by the end of March 2017. Everything at school is fast paced. I get two new classes every single month. Honestly, to not accelerate life makes me want to freak out. If I’m not moving forward or fast, I feel stuck. Though this is beneficial in the art of getting things done on time, it’s not so beneficial when it comes to chilling out. I lost all focus on my blog five months back when things were really picking up in my life.

Then, I went home.

As devastating as Hurricane Matthew was for so many families, it was my blessing in disguise. I evacuated Orlando and went home for a time with my boyfriend. It’s always surreal to go back to Alabama after being gone for awhile. Having my boyfriend with me for the first time, I made it my duty to show him all of my hometown and the cities only 20 more minutes away. I explored the place I grew up, the place I’d lived in so many houses in, and weirdly enough, it felt like I was exploring it for the first time. Growing up, I’d been so busy focusing on what was next that I never truly stopped to enjoy what was around me. In fact, I hated my hometown growing up. I always felt like there was nothing to do, and creatively, there wasn’t anything to help me push my limits. Though that somewhat still stands true, there’s a beautiful nature to my hometown that I never learned to appreciate until I was away from it and “stuck” in a new place.

When I came to that realization, I was stunned and amused that I was, once again, boxing myself in. I – the adventurer I claim to be – keep moving so fast that I don’t stop to look around. There’s so much here in Orlando I haven’t explored, and I have been here for over a year. Plus, in a mere five months, I’ll be moving off somewhere new when I graduate. I barely have any time left to see everything Orlando has to offer, and it’s all my fault. There’s no excuse for not getting my nose out of my work every now and then to go explore, to take time to be with people I love, and to just relax. Already, I’ve started saying yes to more things, such as outdoor popcorn flicks in the park, walking down cobble stone roads, looking at the city skyline at night… I feel so much more free and happy to have chilled out a bit and to realize I don’t have to be everything I want to be right this very second. I can enjoy what I already have, and I can work with that.

Always,

Jinapher J. Hoffman