I got a job. It’s not a full-time job but it pays, a rarity given all the positions listed on my resume. Not that anyone’s asking me for career advice – “You’re only twenty-five,” you might think, “What do you know?”
I know that it helps to be open. It also helps to be patient.
Recently I’ve been feeling young, then old, then young again. It’s not anything I’m doing in particular; changing my hair and losing a few pounds can happen at any age. It’s strange, fitting into old clothes that are basically new because I’ve never worn them before. I hang out with old friends while making new plans. I eat dinner with my aging parents and their aging parents, completely aware of the chronological distance that connects yet divides us. I’m sitting in their present, they in mine, yet inside our clocks are ticking in completely different time zones.
Around me, things are changing at warp speed, but my eyes feel locked in place. People are graduating. Babies I thought would never grow up are walking, reaching out for their diplomas. My cousins are working, saving towards houses and now, college funds for their kids. One of my cousins is pregnant with other pregnancies sure to follow.
Friends have gotten Master’s degrees and some are contemplating PhDs. It’s strange to see all this and feel waves of happiness and awe. Awe of things that change so quickly with or without you. And this is where the happiness comes in, because I am part of it. I am part of their lives and they a part of mine. Yet. Something brews inside me – a quicksilver question mark. Where do I fit in?
Though I dislike school, I will never stop being a student. Perhaps at heart I am an anthropologist. Perhaps all English majors, readers and writers are. The vocabulary of school has been drilled into me and with it I describe my actions: I study those around me. Learn, take notes from model students: other human beings who live the way I hope to. The exams are not so different, just unpredictable and unwritten. It’s been this way for twenty-five years – though perhaps for the first five, I wasn’t a very good student. But now I think I’ve gotten closer to the top than I’ve ever been – the results of course aren’t in yet, but the notes are down. I’ve written them down neatly in pen. And I’m studying too… it’s just a matter of when. When and where will I apply what I’ve learned? This is life’s greatest test. The part where you are asked to sit and write – or, to stand up and act. Or sit and write.