Some thoughts from the Houston Airport
Going back to school is hard. It’s been about a month since I’ve been in Mobile. I don’t remember what it’s like to be back at school. All I know is that home is warm, safe and comfortable. My family is there. I have my school family in Mobile, but it is simply not the same.
I worry so much about the future. Where I’m going to be in ten years, in five, next week. I feel so much pressure, so much panic sometimes. Do I really want to be a curator? Do I really love the American Revolution? Should I want something else? I don’t like to think of myself this way, but I’ve been known to change myself to be the way others want me to be. I’ve changed the way I dress, the way I act, the way I laugh, the things I’ll admit to liking. Recently, I’ve stepped out of this, living the 90’s motto of “Be yourself. You are unique.” (Insert the oft-repeated Judy Garland line here.) But sometimes I find it creeping back, leaving me to question what I want, who I really am. I’m going to be twenty in two months. What does this mean? How am I supposed to act? I sometimes feel like I’m stuck at 17 or 18. And yeah, it’s only been about two years, but it’s still confusing. Growing up is confusing.
They say that only we are an expert at being ourselves. Honestly, I’d love to know what it feels like to be someone else sometimes. Not someone I know, but someone about my age. Do they feel like they’re constantly being buffeted in all directions? It sometimes feels that the only constants I have are decisions I made years ago, or decisions made for me. My name, my hometown, my school, my major. It’s not like I’m constantly engaged in an identity crisis. This is all coming up because I’m once again travelling between my two homes with what feels like all my worldly possessions. Which is rather dramatic and untrue, but I have a suitcase, a duffel bag and a purse with my laptop. Within these things, I have a debit card and a cell phone, a water bottle, gum and a granola bar. Two novels. An ipod. Post-it notes. Clothes, shoes, a toothbrush. I’m pretty covered. If I don’t have it, I can buy it.
I saw the movie “Leap Year” yesterday. Cheesy, predictable romantic comedy of the type I love though it was, it asked a basic question: “If your house was on fire and you had 60 seconds, what would you take?” Out of instinct, I’d probably grab my purse, whatever books happen to be lying around. And definitely pictures. But a lot of it depends on which “house” I’m dealing with. If I’m at 2321, pictures are the very first thing. And my most favorite books. There is a reason I have arranged my bookshelves with my favorites at the front. If I had more than 60 seconds and some help, Christmas ornaments. At school, in Zoe II, a lot of my answer would be the same. Family pictures and books lying around. My quilt. Maybe clothes. But I would mostly just want to make sure my family, biological and adopted, was safe. That’s the most important. I could survive anything with these people, although I pray that I never have to find out.
I am a child of the 1990s and as such, “Harry Potter” was a major part of my adolescence. Harry did, after all, turn 17 the year I turned 17, even though the timeline is a bit different. A popular question about HP is always “What one thing would you want from the Wizarding World?” A wand? The invisibility cloak? A Weasley brother? For me, ever since it was first introduced in Book Five, I have had my answer: The Pensieve. To be able to relive memories, re-analyze situations. It would be extremely helpful in trials and better than a video camera for vacations. But, as with anything, it would have to be used carefully and sparingly. After all, as Dumbledore says, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” One can’t always live and dwell in the past. It’s important to actually live your life so you have memories to color your dreams of the future.
Instead of worrying, I should, I need, and I want to just be. Just let things happen as they happen. Let go, with minimal planning. Or plan, but don’t worry. Be happy.
Taking off into the wild blue yonder, ready to be home,
A response to the previous thoughts from the Houston Airport, one day later.
At this writing, I haven’t even been back at school for twenty-four hours. I think that the aforementioned “What’s going to happen with my life?” stemmed from a lack of sleep, homesickness and a lack of human companionship despite being at an airport surrounded by hundreds of people. Indeed, it is still very, very strange to be back at school. I still have to think about where I am and if I’m supposed to be somewhere else, because I’m not yet used to being in this place on this schedule. Everything seems slightly off, but I know that once a routine develops, I’ll feel much less off-kilter about life.
I think part of the above comes from my deep desire to do something significant with my life—to make a discovery, write something groundbreaking, change someone’s life for the better, who knows. The problem is, as well as I know myself, I know my potential too little, and I have no ideas about what I should do or of what I’m capable. I feel a pull in several different directions, because of several different interests, but I have no idea which one is worthy of my attention, or if I’m simply destined to explore them all. I’m tempted towards the latter, but I then fall into the worry that I will waste my life by going in many different directions, and in the end, I’ll have nothing to show for my time and effort. I guess I should think about the times I accomplished my goals through focusing my efforts, following my dreams and my heart, rather than focusing on the projects I neglected to finish. Even in my befuddlement, I know that there’s no rush to make decisions and figure all this stuff out, society’s time clock be damned. And even if I choose to live by some clock, let me step to the music which I hear, however measured or far away.
Finding her own drummer,
P.S. Let’s chuckle along with the Gilmore Girls, shall we?
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” –Henry David Thoreau