The last several weeks have been busy and while that’s no excuse for avoiding my blog… this is: I have a lot of negative thoughts going on. While many of these thoughts involve classic life-altering dilemmas that lots of soon-to-be grads worry about, others are too raw and too personal to make a headline in a blogpost.
Which leaves me thinking… what topics are too private for a blog? I’m realizing it is not the topic but how comfortable the writer is associating herself with the topic that gives it permission to be shared. It’s only those thoughts that we’re afraid to admit that we deem too personal, and it’s not until you get a thought into words that it becomes an extension of yourself. Before it’s verbalized or written, it’s still inside of you. Safely.
Someone doesn’t write about coming out and embracing their sexual identity until they are comfortable enough (and brave enough) to do so. Someone doesn’t admit that they have a drug dependency until they have accepted it. Someone doesn’t talk about pursuing their biggest dream until they feel confident enough to share their progress with the world. For those of us who use words to express ourselves, it isn’t until those words are staring you back in the face that you realize … I just said that. I just admitted that. I just meant that.
And putting those words out there may be the biggest relief or the most terrifying step of the whole process. Once you say it, you have to answer to it. Unless you say it anonymously which is why POSTSECRET is a beautiful thing. I realize this post should lead into some big self-revelation/conclusion/announcement, but like I said, I’m not there yet. Instead, we’ll go back to Topic A: big life-altering dilemmas that lots of soon-to-be grads worry about.
Today while I was making my 6th annual trip from Harrisonburg to my parent’s house for the Thanksgiving holiday, I cried. I cried because I remembered pieces of all those other Thanksgiving trips I made before this one. I remembered carpooling with my freshmen friends and how we had to wait for everyone to finish their Tuesday class before we could leave. I remembered listening to Christmas songs the whole way because I won a bet that I could make a list of 150 of them. I remembered not getting to leave with all my other senior friends because I had to stay behind and close a whole residence hall. I thought about all the times I’ve been leaving and coming back to this place I call home.
I love JMU so much and its such a huge part of who I am that I don’t feel like I’m ready to part with it. Because of this feeling, I’m making every micro-step of this semester into a bigger-than-it-needs-to-be ordeal. My last summer day in Harrisonburg ended with me being a crybaby at Westover pool, and my last home football game ended with me heartbroken over the fact that I’m not going to be sporting my duke dog cape or purple and gold fencing socks until I come back next semester as an alumni. Even then I plan on doing my best to disguise the fact that I’m an alumni. I’ll be the alum who forgoes those comfy seats I paid for to squeeze into the student section.
I don’t know how else to say it, but seeing those beautiful Shenandoah Valley leaves turn brown literally causes me pain. I love JMU with my whole heart. It has been so good to me. I have learned so much about the world and myself through my years here. I know that because of my time here I am closer to being a world citizen who is ready to lead a productive and meaningful life, I just don’t want my time to be up. I don’t want to graduate yet, and every step that signifies that time is moving closer to May hurts my heart. I try to remind myself that I’m not graduating yet. I have six more months to flaunt my student status. Still, I need a next step which has me running into all of these questions:
- Should I pursue a PhD program or dive into a real-world job?
- Does moving to Colorado and opening a bakery with your best friend count as a real-world job?
- When making big life decisions should your ultimate loyalty be to your family? Your significant other? Or your biggest dreams?
- What really is more important: financial security or doing what you love?
- What if the things you love only have money associated with them if you’re really, really good at them?
- Do I really have to leave JMU? I know there are jobs here.
…and I really don’t have answers to any of these questions yet. Your insight is greatly appreciated.