“The world is your playground. Why aren’t you playing?” –Ellie Katz

If the world is my playground, then I have been on the swings all week. The swings always make me feel euphoric. I can’t stop giggling, nor do I want to stop. I never really want to get off. When I was little, I used to pretend I was Peter Pan, or Tinkerbell, or Wendy, or whoever and pretend that I could fly off into the stars to Never Never Land when I was swinging. The delicious swoop upward until you feel like you’re going to fall out of your swing, and then the plunging backwards into gravity is like no other feeling. And I’ve been giggling all week. I don’t really know why. Maybe this will help explain it.

Today was pretty eventful. I rode my bike, Lola, to the bank, and then I decided to go a little bit farther. So I rode down the street and around the corner to the public library. And I got a library card. It’s purple and yellow and very pretty. I checked out four books. I think this is the least amount of books I’ve had checked out at one time from the library since I got my very first library card when I was seven. Four. That’s got to be some kind of record for me. I would have gotten more, but I have homework, and I could only fit about five in my backpack. Maybe next time I’ll take a suitcase.

It felt so weird to be in that library. A good weird, with all the nice books, and quiet people. But I’m so used to everyone in the library knowing my name and making fun of me and all the books I check out. The librarian called me Ms. Z. It was weird. I kept wanting to tell him to call me by my first name, but I was too shy. So instead I wandered around the stacks and just enjoyed. I hope to go back soon and just be.

After my bike ride, I just felt kind of tired and quiet. My euphoria is waning a bit. I’m sitting here, in my room, eating Peanut M&M’s, drinking Lipton Raspberry White Tea and watching “The Lord of the Rings”. A bunch of my favorite things, all together. This will be a good weekend, I can tell already. I have lots of work to do, but work is good. It gives life purpose, and ensures I won’t be too idle and lonely or idle and bored. I went to 7:30 chapel this morning. It was a lovely mass, and just what I needed to get my day off to a good start. And when I checked my mailbox, I had two letters: one from my aunt and another from the munchkins. I miss seeing their faces and hearing their cute little catchphrases. Life is good. It can only get better from here. I have food, friends, a warm bed…what more do I need? I am fairly content. Once the year is in full swing, contentment will be a daily blanket.

I’m truly looking forward to starting as a tutor next week. I’m supposed to be helping third, fourth and fifth graders with math. That’s about all the math I can handle! It will be good to get outside of myself and think about other people.  As J.M. Barrie observed, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” I’m going to make the world a little brighter in my own way, developing a greater purpose.

Having a purpose is always good. In 9th grade, I went on a retreat with the rest of the upper school girls. The headmistress asked us what we thought should be our purpose in life. I answered that our purpose in life should be to find a purpose and then hang onto it. The headmistress didn’t seem to think much of my answer and just looked over her glasses at me in the scary way she has. However, I still think my answer is sort of true. One’s goal in life is to find some passion, some greater purpose and pursue it. That’s what college is all about for me. That’s part of the reason I decided to go to school so far away. For the next four years, I’m supposed to figure out what my purpose and passion in life should be. Then, I’ll hopefully hang onto it for the rest of my life. Or not.

When people down here ask me what my major is, I answer “history”. Usually the next question is “What do you plan on doing with that?” I usually answer that I want to be a teacher. But sometimes I feel like saying that I want to be an astronaut or spelunker, that I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and then become a motivational speaker. Or maybe I want to be the next Diane Sawyer or voice a cartoon character. Maybe I’ll be a photographer for National Geographic or have my own kiln, start my own publishing company or design shoes. I could live on Fiji and teach yoga, live in a tree, save the whales, produce major motion pictures, enter corporate banking, write murder mysteries.The point is, I don’t really know what exactly my passion or purpose is just yet. And that’s cool. I’ve just begun. Maybe I’ll be all these things. Maybe I’ll be none of them. I know now that I love history and I like teaching and I relate well to others. I can be calm in a crisis and I can cheer others up when they’re sad. I am extraordinary. I know it, and that’s really the only thing that matters. I am my own peculiarly lovely person. And that is indeed remarkable. Like Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest, “I intend to develop in many directions.” Spontaneity is good. Taking chances are good. Trying new things, following dreams, living with joy…all good. I’m going out to set the world on fire.

Blazing up a storm,

S.

“Never say ‘no’ to adventure. Always say ‘yes’, otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.”

–Ian Fleming

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