So apparently I haven't been blogging lately. Since February 17th, actually. It's been brought to my attention, quite abruptly, that I need to keep up. But in my defense, I also haven't been showering, grocery shopping, (and subsequently:) eating, watching The Office, or changing my socks, either.
I've been doing homework. Well, mostly just sorting through it.
I say "sorting through," because I have this terrible habit of making myself lists of every little thing I need to do for every class on countless sheets of paper that end up getting lost or misplaced or written over and in the end, I never usually get to the homework.
This is not to say I'm not doing my homework--it gets done. The papers get written, the presentations get prepared, the articles get read, the studying gets studied. It just takes me quite a few . . . lists, to get there.
So that is why I haven't blogged. My deepest apologies go out to all those who were checking every day in the hopes of seeing a recently added post (you know who you are.) I myself check my favorite blog (more than one time) every day and am often sorely disappointed.
But alas, that is the world of blogging. We amateur bloggers don't have the privilege of giving up work and school to sit in front of our computers all day wondering if the comma should or shouldn't be placed after the word "well." So until I become a famous blogger and am making my millions off of A Facet of My Growing Age, bear with me.
That being said, during my cyber-absence I've at least jotted down some fabulous new ideas for the blog. Stay tuned. And hopefully be pleasantly surprised.
In this unfair world we live in, I've decided it's completely illogical to expect a person to hold just one profession. What if I have more than one thing I want to do with my life? What if I want to get five college degrees? This is not plausible.
But, I've come up with a list of professions I'd ideally like to have. Who knows, maybe someday I can check them all off. I can dream, can't I? Please do comment and provide any type of sage advice for the fulfillment of these goals.
1.) Social worker (I do plan on actually completing this one) 2.) Handbag designer (I've already sewn close to ten, they're practically a line already!) 3.) Hippie living out of a van 4.) Midwife 5.) One of those people in the Kashi commercials that supposedly backpack the world looking for healthy food ideas 6.) Ray Lamontagne groupie (which will then lead to #7...) 7.) Crack addict/artist/musician (Okay, so not really, but it's a rather romantic profession, isn't it? And I mean romantic as in fanciful and idealistic and impractical, not lovey-dovey romance)
And if I'm still alive after the aforementioned crack addiction, the list will go on.....
So last night, I was hurrying to get from work at the daycare back to my apartment, and then to my 6 o'clock night class on time. In between here, I decided it would be worth my while to cook some pasta and gulp it down before dashing out the door yet again for the 4th time that day.
I put the water on to boil before I even got my coat off, throwing the pot on the stove and jerking the dial up to HIGH. I tore off my coat and hurried to the bathroom, knowing I only had a few precious minutes to go and check my email and change my shirt before the water boiled.
A minute later, I realized: is it safe to leave a burner on while you're not in the room? Once, I left the kettle on and all the water evaporated out of it and the bottom of the kettle started to char. Then I thought back to the time at the beginning of the semester when Steph heated olive oil in pan and it caught on fire. There were flames billowing out of the pan, smoke filling the apartment, the fire alarm going off, our hall director and firemen barging in. Oops.
This could very well happen again, couldn't it? Images flashed through my mind of flames flickering in the window of the microwave, filling the kitchen, enveloping the entire apartment and building and I'd never know it because I was in the bathroom. I started to smell smoke. I could smell the cooked-on food on the burner smoldering and stinking as it burned. I was just waiting for any second when I'd hear the fire alarm going off and the fire trucks pulling up. I was sure of it. I was positive. The flames must have gotten at least through the kitchen, probably into the living room by this point. I couldn't be responsible for that just because I left water to boil while I went to the bathroom.
I ran out of that bathroom. I knew I could see the orange-ish reflection of the flames against the wall as I turned the corner into the living room.
When I got to the kitchen, I looked around. There was no fire. It was like a movie that went back in time before some terrible accident, back to how it was originally. There was my pot of water, sitting on the glowing burner, hardly even heated yet. There were no flames.
College is such an awkward time in life. No, I don't mean awkward as in pants-too-short, acne-all-over-your-face, tripping-over-your-own-feet awkward, but as in: it's such an in-between time. There's the world, and then there's the world of college.
College students are quite possibly the only citizens who have both temporary and permanent addresses at the same time, have to leave the town they live in to vote, and have live-in babysitters to look after them. First there's childhood, then there's college, and then there's adulthood. What could possibly happen within those four years to turn pants-too-short, acne-all-over-their-faces, tripping-over-their-own-feet teenagers into qualified, mature, job-worthy adults? Four years later, they're about to release me into the real world like letting a rehabilitated animal back into the wild. I still have some acne on my face, which I hope clears up before commencement.
Then I will have a degree in English. I can successfully say that I am now capable of writing a paper. I can not only read, but read faster now. I worried about this a lot when I declared my major as English. What kind of skills can I possibly graduate with that qualify me to hold a position in grown-up society? I can't put in an IV, I can't teach math, I can't design bridges. But hey, I sure can read.
I talked to my professor about this. I really want to go to graduate school for social work, I lamented, but I'm not sure how my English degree will fit in with that. She laughed. She told me that of course an English degree prepares you for social work, because you read about all different sorts of people and relationships and understand peoples' places in the world. Of course I knew she was right. I had just been so busy listening to people telling me that English was a bullshit major and the only job I'd be able to get when I graduate would be in the human resources department of some insurance company that I had started to believe them. I may not know whether to apply heat or ice to a bruise, but I sure do know people.
Now that I've learned to read and write and understand people, I actually need to face them. In 89 days, I will need to survive on my own. I will walk in the ceremony amongst thousands of others in the same position as me. I will pack up my entire life from my fabulous little on-campus apartment and move back into the house I grew up in. I will once again have to survive in close quarters with my parents and siblings. My mother will once again expect me to go to church with the family on Sundays and all holy days of obligation. I will work the same minimum wage job all summer until I can finally get away again in September and join Americorps and move away for the next segment of my life (oh God, please let this be true). And after that, I know nothing.
Nothing at all. For all I know, at this time next year I could be married and pregnant. Or still living in the room I lived in as a child. Or living in Paris as an ex-pat drinking in cafes at ten o'clock in the morning, Hemingway-style.
Will I ever know? At what point in life does one finally say Ah, yes, this is the way my life is going to pan out. Living like this for the rest of my life will make me completely happy. My roommate Stephanie and I were discussing this the other day. We were thinking maybe when we're forty, or fifty, we could be completely happy. Maybe then we could truthfully and assuredly tell ourselves that everything in life was okay and that everything would turn out just splendidly. We would be settled, with none of this transitory in-between business, but firmly settled in our lives. We would be happy where we were. After all, isn't fifty years enough to cement who you are and have everything planned out? In college, this is nowhere near possible. So, we're just going to live our lives patiently awaiting the day (perhaps our fiftieth birthday, or fifty-first at the latest) when we would wake up and think to ourselves, Finally! I am happy right here and plan to be until the day I die. But, I'm sure this will become more clear to me after I switch my tassel from the left to the right and get that $70,000 diploma. Of course.
Have I even done everything I wanted to before I leave this place? After four years of wanting to get out of Storrs, Connecticut (and believe me, I still do), I find myself oddly attached. Do I have enough Husky apparel? Did I rub the mascot Jonathan’s nose enough times to get my good luck? Have I seen the cows? I mean, just the other day I found out where the president’s office is. Can I really leave here and feel fulfilled?
89 more days. My roommates (who are juniors and don't have to worry about being tossed to the wolves come May) like to remind me of it. Last semester we had a countdown on our self-made chalkboard fastened to the wall in our kitchen. Thirteen more weeks of riding the green line bus, twelve more weeks of crossword puzzles in the Daily Campus, eleven more weeks of exams. Until eventually it got down to zero and in the midst of cramming for finals and planning my winter break I realized the semester was over. That meant only fifteen more weeks of classes in the spring and then it would be over.
So this semester, I have prohibited them from making a countdown till the end. They of course got around this by making a countdown till spring, but even that was less intimidating than a countdown till graduation. I am looking forward to the warm weather as well, but not anytime soon. Because warm weather means mud, and mud means walking through it, and walking through mud means walking to the co-op and purchasing my cap and gown, and purchasing my cap and gown means actually, physically, and really graduating from college.
Wasn't I just tripping over my own feet, wearing pants that were too short, and trying to cover up all the acne on my face?