Well, today is graduation day for a lot of folks in the great town of Valparaiso, Indiana. It's a little hard to believe that I'm no longer among the most recent grads of Valpo. I definitely don't feel like too much more of an adult than I did after I walked across the stage. And yet, when I reflect upon the last year and everything I've done and experienced and felt... then it starts to seem impossible that it could have all happened in only 365 days. Just for kicks, let me take you through a couple of the highlights (and lowlights) of the first year of "real life." This will be fun, I promise.
-I got a job. And not a lifeguarding summer job, not a 2 hours a week job in the Christ College office (although that was a sweet gig, who knew stuffing envelopes could be so fun?) But a real, legitimate, I have to sign a contract to accept this job, job. Granted, I don't think it's what I'll be doing for the rest of my life, but that's neither here nor there. I get paid on a regular basis, woo!
-I started living with my grandparents. This is where I sort of feel like I regressed a little in the process of becoming an adult, but I didn't think I was going to be in Nebraska for more than 3 months...then I didn't think I was going to be in Nebraska past this year...you see where this is going, no? But bottom line is that I'm fortunate to have family that will take me in from the rain and snow (a lot of it here, as much as Valpo? Hard to say.) and even make me dinner most days.
-I figured out how difficult it really is to get five girls together in the same town on the same days. Frankly, I'm amazed I got to meet up with my girlfriends from Valpo even twice this year. And though it's a little daunting to look forward to a whole year of logisitical planning to see people once in a blue moon, it's worth it when we finally reunite and the world spins properly on its axis once more.
-I went through the entire spectrum of possible emotions: joyous, sad, amused, bitter, excited, disappointed, surprised, tickled pink, numbed. You name it, I did it. Thankfully, I feel like I've reached a content, happy place (for the most part) and no longer am I tempted to climb to the top of my house and throw myself from it. Moral victory? I think so.
-Although not as thrilling as some of the more major events, I've learned a whole slew of completely specific art-related tasks that will most likely bear no practical importance to me in the future. But they're still fun to do, like making stained glass windows, or screenprinting or glazing ceramic tiles. I suppose you could call this "building my life resume?" Maybe. Still working on the language for all that.
OK, maybe that wasn't really that fun. But it's been an interesting year, and those are just the things that popped into my head during this brief look back. I can only imagine that the next year of my life will be just as surprising as the last, so I'm trying not to make as many unalterable plans as I did before. If anything, this year I've learned to go with the flow, because frankly, it's exhausting and quite pointless to swim against it. Things will happen or not happen, people will be there or not be there, you will move or not move. There's no way to know. But that's what makes it exciting, right? Or at least, that's what my dad is always telling me. So yeah, the first year as a real person is over.
Last thought, here. My friend Stephanie is an amazing singer and in one of her songs, she says, "Another year passes, I try to keep up. I wonder how it will all be beautiful." I think this everyday. I do wonder how my life will be beautiful, but I've learned that it could happen in a million different ways. I'll give you the update in another year, and we'll see where we're at. For now, congrats to all of you who are graduating. Keep your chins up if you can't see the future clearly, and keep your eyes open so you don't miss anything. Theoretically, it all comes together at some point. :)