Crunch Time

I suppose I should write and say that I’ve got a job. It’s not a full-time job but it pays, a rarity for all the positions listed on my resume. It helps to be open – if I had to give advice to all those people on the cusp of graduating, I’d say, “One, be patient. Two, be open.” When it comes to dispensing advice like this, people say, “You’re only twenty-five. What do you know.” Yet when it comes to job-hunting, graduating, people think, “You’re twenty-five. Get a move on!” Or maybe they don’t, but I do.

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 seems to fall somewhere in between any sort of age gap. 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 – someone is pregnant and other pregnancies are 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 waves of nothing. Nothing at all – not bitterness or jealousy or voluntary detachment, but most accurately, awe. Awed that things can 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 – and yet. 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.

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