For over a year (I graduated undergrad last year, and now I am about to graduate from grad school), everyone has been asking me what my post-graduation plans are, and I’ve been responding, “No plans! Just dreams.” And then I smile nervously and hope that’s a satisfying answer for both me and my inquirer.
It sounds really stupid and cheesy and cringeworthy when I replay the answer in my head, but it’s the truth. I have things to work hard for (writing my master’s dissertation! getting fitter and subsequently skinnier! finding an actual full-time job! being a kinder and more generous person!) and all I can do is make sure I keep moving forward at least a little bit every day, prepare for a rainy day/week/month, and hope for good timing and good luck.
Occasionally, I get stressed and tired and I feel envious of friends who know exactly what they’re doing, but then I realize that I am so lucky to be full of dreams and hopes — because I feel like nothing is anchoring me down yet, and I feel like anything could be possible and that I, myself, could be possible, whatever that may mean. And I’d like to hold onto this feeling for as long as possible, because the last time I felt this way was when I was 16 years old. And also, even my friends who have signed contracts at shiny firms in shiny skyscrapers don’t really know what they’re doing, either.
The last time I wrote something — not just reblogged and added some commentary — was approximately three months ago. I’ve always had things to say, but I suppose one of the perils of blogging is that it almost feels like a one-way conversation. Here I am, shouting into the internet, and maybe five of you will hear me. Maybe two of you will respond. Maybe one of you will return to my blog again.
Anyway, an inventory of what I’ve been up to for three months: training for my first half-marathon (in two weeks!), shopping for my first half-marathon (I deserve a flattering pair of running pants, right?), cheerleading as a last hurrah for my youth, writing approximately 20,000 more words until I can graduate, reading books (and uh, Gawker) under the crisp sunshine (and occasionally ducking for cover when it starts raining because the weather in England is merciless), interning in fashion features for British Vogue (the commute to London is dreadful, but London itself is wonderful), arranging small trips around Europe with the limited funds I have (Amsterdam, I’m coming!), falling madly in
lovefatuation with pretty boys who definitely have no idea that I dedicate Taylor Swift songs to them, cold-emailing authors whom I admire because I have no shame when it comes to texts that paralyze me with thought, somewhat applying for jobs as I near closer to my diploma each day, saving up money as a rainy day fund, cooking, buttering crumpets, drinking Kusmi tea, freelance writing, dancing in designer dresses and Zara heels, and figuring out how to be alone and to love my friends and family at the same time. Because, y’know, I’m thousands of miles from home, but I have friends here in Oxford, too. And I’m trying to deal with the fact that in a few months, I’ll be leaving them, too. I want to stop leaving.
So, I’ve actually had plenty of time to write in a blog or personal journal, but I haven’t. Instead, I’ve been staring out my window on my commute to and from London, meditating on my hour-long runs, and trying so hard to grasp onto everyone in my life who mean so much more to me that I can explain in words right now.
In the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother, Marshall says, ”I remember at our wedding, and I remember thinking, man, everyone here means so much to me — a bunch of those people, I haven’t seen them since.” And then Future Ted narrates, “And that’s how it goes, kids. Friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners-in-crime you love so much when you’re young — as the years go by, you just lose touch.”
I’ve always been good at leaving and saying goodbye — I’m always convinced that I will see everyone again. But in the past two weeks, there have been so many losses in my circle and in my friends’ circles, and yet so many marriages and engagements. So, maybe you can’t control how long you get to keep everyone in your life, but you can definitely control how you show your love for them.