Saturday, May 17, 2014
So I’m on a plane from JFK to SLC right now. I want to write this blog post because writing End of the School Year posts is ritualistic for me at this point. I don’t really know what exactly I want to say this year, though, because for every year before it’s been like, “I’m moving from grade 10 to grade 11” or whatever. This year it’s like, “I got a new life.” I got a new life.
A couple nights ago, it was about 3 am and I was on the phone with Tris gossiping and crying and understanding the whole world and I started to think about this life I’ve created over the course of this year. It’s strange to think back over the course of it because it’s so complete now. I know exactly what happens when I wake up every day. I have people, a weird family that even fills family roles in its own way, mother, father, sister, brother, brother-in-law. I even have that old uncle who uses his socks as a way of having controlled fun. We eat dinner together.
I think the weirdest thing about this school year is the way that school and life just blended together into one life, and in my mind it was just going to continue on into infinity just like this. As the school year’s come to a close I’ve been being the most pretentious ever and I’m constantly like, “Ugh, there’s this T.S. Elliot poem that ends ‘This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper,’ and that’s how I feel about ending of this school year.” Because it’s true. College is weird. I’m so used to K-12 at the end of the year how there’s always cupcakes and water balloons. In college, you just get to panic about your miserable life and how you really should’ve paid better attention in math class all semester long and then you don’t sleep for a week and everyone just has this insane mutual panic – and then it’s over. Not with a bang, but a whimper because you probably failed something and now there’s nothing you can do about it.
So I tried to create my own cupcakes and water balloons – but, like, metaphorically, because I can’t cook and also I don’t like getting wet. I tried SoulCycle for the first time and even though my butt is still sore, it was completely the best workout ever and I can’t wait to do it again as soon as I’m back in the fall. (Also if any of you want to get me their gear for my birthday, you should. You can buy it all online. They have the best tanks.) Last night at midnight, the gang went to French Roast and we sat around and ate hummus and reminisced and wrote an opera and talked about how we’re going to come back in ten years and be like, “Aw, remember when?” We’ll all be rich by then, also.
I guess what I’m saying is that there’s a part of me that feels like my life’s ending. Back in January, I wrote about how sometimes having two homes makes me feel like half a person, but that I also realized that I can have 100% of a life in New York and 100% of a life in Utah, which actually worked out great for me, except now it feels like 100% of me is dying. Having a life stretched across 2,000 miles, as much as I would love to say it it's so, to say I’ve got it all figured out just isn’t even possible. But I realize also that I’m coming home to another 100% life and I get to do my yoga training and see the few friends I have left and sleep in a bed that is actually the size for a real human and spend time with my family, and that’s going to be the best thing ever. I also realize that the best way to love New York is to leave it. But I’m really over the “not with a bang, but a whimper” analogy, because yesterday, last night, this morning, it all felt like a bang. Not even exaggerating, I think I cried fifteen different times yesterday, and every time it was something different. One minute I was sobbing because I didn’t want to leave and the next it was because I couldn’t wait to be home and the next it was because I was stressed about my French final and the next it was just because I still think New York is the most beautiful place in the entire world. I just love everyone and everything and everywhere so desperately, and, like, it hit me really hard. I think I freaked everyone out.
I also get really nostalgic before I leave a place. Everything feels important. It’s all like, “Aw, last time I’ll sleep in this bed, and last time I’ll eat Siagon Shack for three months, and last time I’ll have this stupid monkey shower curtain sticking to me while I try to shave my legs.” It’s sort of silly because I’m only leaving for three months, but I think that’s also part of the reason that the best way to love New York is to leave it. I start to love everything about it again, even the sticky heat and the weird smells and the way the water drips off the air conditioners outside buildings and for a second it’s like you’re getting rained on but with the grossest water ever but it’s great because everyone hates it together.
When I sat down to write this blog post I thought I’d write something like, “Oh, look what I’ve learned! Look how I’ve grown! I’m an adult!” But, like, as far as actual adulthood goes, I might have actually moved backward. I can’t drive, I can’t cook, I can’t take my high school friends seriously when they get engaged. There’s a huge part of me that wants to say, “New York changed me. My first year of college changed me.” And I definitely think a lot of people want me to feel that or be that or have that be a real thing, but when I think about the person I was this time last year, I’m really still the same. I have a higher caffeine tolerance, I wear more black, I am entirely disenchanted with Times Square. But I’m really still the same person at my core. I believe the same things. I want the same things. And I think that’s because I was always going to end up in New York. It’s always where I belonged, and it wasn’t going to sweep me off my feet and shape me into its image when that’s what I already was.
I have learned, though. How to be a person. How to navigate a city. How to be sad and still love everything in the world. A year ago, if you’d told me what I’d be today, I don’t know if I would’ve believed you. A part of me thinks I’d have wanted to know I had changed so much more, but a part of me, a bigger part, probably, knows I would’ve just been like, “Yeah. Of course."
So that’s my new life. And now I’m finishing this blog post on the floor of my bedroom in Utah and there are four suitcases and like fifteen boxes and I’ve been driving so much, even though I hate driving more than anything, but also I did yoga and I was safe and Hayley is coming to help me unpack boxes and Morgan is here and Tanner is here, and this isn’t my old life, and it isn’t a new new life, it’s just an extension of the new life, and I feel like that sentence made no sense at all, but here I am, and things are going to be good.
I’m finishing this blog post after four days of being home and I guess all I want to say now is that if I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t do anything different. Which is probably the coolest feeling in the entire world.
"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." -John Steinbeck