You'd think after twenty-two years I'd be used to the spinBright Eyes, "Land Locked Blues"
And it only feels worse when I stay in one place
So I'm always pacing around or walking away
I graduated two months ago, today. Somehow, I managed to work nine weeks in between.
Yesterday, I had lunch with someone incredibly important to my college experience, and then dinner with someone incredibly important to my high school experience. The juxtaposition was so jarring that I needed to call someone else who was incredibly important to my college experience to sort it all out. The fact is that people change. I'll be the first to admit that I am not the same person I was in high school, or even as a college junior. I actually think I changed more in the last year than any year before that, maybe since learning how to walk and talk. I also know that that's ok, and *gulp* "normal."And I know that "normal" legitimately doesn't exist, no matter how much the culture industry tries to tell us otherwise. It's like there's these paths that well-adjusted people are supposed to follow to properly achieve milestones at the right times, and if they don't, they're social lepers. Well, guess what? I call shenanigans. I guess I know some people who do things the "right" way, but very few actually do.
I might be the first person to mention Lady Gaga and Bright Eyes in the same breath, but they are both so so relevant to what I'm thinking right now. I'm at this fabulous stage in my life that offers fresh starts when I need them. When the world drives me crazy, I wait it out a bit, then move. I'm 22, just like Connor Oberst, when he sang that song. (Sort of...) And then there's "Born This Way." Have you actually listened to the song's lyrics? I totally don't agree with a good portion of them, but I get the sentiment. Love yourself, no matter who you are. (Unless, I suppose, you're some sort of dangerous criminal. She should have been a bit more specific.) These two songs don't go together on their own, but they're both about me, in that narcissistic way that music is always about me.* Like take today: I bid farewell to many of my favorite spots in the city by visiting them one last time. I went to the National Gallery (spent about 93% of my time in the east building, of course), the Hirshhorn, and the Phillips. While at the Phillips, I went to their small version of Tryst, and ordered iced coffee. This is what it looked like:
|Ok, this is what it looked like after I drank almost all of it...|
That's the biggest change I've made, and it was a very conscious change. It's clearly a process that'll be ongoing for a while, if not forever, but it's great. I used to do just about everything because I thought somebody wanted me to do it that way. For example, someone did my makeup for an event (my senior recital...), and people told me I looked good with lipstick. I ate up the compliment, and started to wear lipstick in regular life. It lasted about a month, before I got frustrated and stopped. An even better example is my hair. I wanted to go short & styled for several years, but I always had some friend or other who would tell me it was a bad idea and I'd look dumb. When I left Delaware and realized I had no social accountability, I went out and got the haircut I wanted. (The problem happened when it grew out and I needed a trim, and went to the Hair Cuttery to save money. Never again. Ever. Resist the discount haircut.) Getting that first right haircut was great, and people just accepted it as my hair.
This is all a long-winded way of saying that change can be a great thing, particularly if it's change that allows action to align more with personal ideals. Change is also scary, so it's always good to have someone to call to put things into perspective, even long-distance.
I'm not done figuring myself out yet. I don't know if anybody ever is, but I know I still have quite a ways to go. It was weird to be confronted with 4+ years of change in such quick succession, yesterday, but I'm glad it happened. I like the person I am now more than I like the person I was 1, 2, 4, or more years ago, but I will always like the people who were there for the ride, even if all we have in common is our past. Last fall, I caught up with the oldest friend I have. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other for almost four years, but we were able to talk for almost an entire day about our shared past. I think it's good to remember who I used to be, to shed some perspective on who I am, and who I will be.
As annoying as this post may read, it's something I needed to get out. After this week, I'll recap my final two weeks at the library. Interesting stuff happened last week, and I'll throw it in when I write about this coming week, which will be my last week in DC.
*It's about you, too, but I would never admit that.