Monday, May 10, 2010

365 days...

...since I reached that pinnacle of life I worked so hard for for four years - college graduation.

You've guessed correctly - this is indeed that requisite reflection one must write on poignant anniversaries such as this. A lot can happen in one year [indeed a lot did happen], and while anniversaries are always a reason to celebrate/reflect, I do believe that the first year anniversary of anything truly is a special milestone.

The first year of [insertspecialcircumstaincehere] is chock full of changes and new experiences and getting-used-tos. It's true for marriage [well, I imagine so], for high school, for college, for life after college, after the death of a loved one [erg, a little melancholy I know], in a new job, whathaveyou. And yes, I could be persuaded that in fact we are always experiencing change, and by closing off the first year in such defining brackets is a false separation of some parts of our lives from the whole. Nevertheless - the one year anniversary is indeed a time of reflection. Cue me taking full advantage:

*Note: I did not even realize this was the one-year anniversary of graduation until everyone posted on Facebook, emails, blogs, etc. that this was the one year mark. Apparently I am not sentimental enough to actually remember the DAY...but now that I have been reminded I can't NOT be sentimental about it, of course...*

When I think about the past year, I know that so much has changed. I know that my living situation is different, I know my job status has seen many different titles, I know that I am much different than the person I was on May 11, 2009. The first two are tangible and factual and easy to pinpoint, like filling out a form:
Instead of living on campus, I now live at ----------- in Chicago.
Instead of studying [?] all day, I work in Naperville [in costume!] and babysit in my spare time.

Now that last one is a little more difficult to tackle. I absolutely know for a fact I have changed. I know my outlook on life has changed, I know my attitude has changed, I know my friendships have changed [even though I'm still friends with pretty much the same group of people]. But those changes were so slow and gradual and came when I was faced with a situation I had never encountered before. Even now, as I try to think about how I have changed, who I am today seems so distant and yet the person I was when I graduated one year ago.

I think the most important change is that every day I realize that I am, in fact, an adult. For the first few months after graduation I kept waiting for this magical change to happen - this magical moment when I had entered the sphere of life we call adulthood.

It never happened.

Then one day I noticed I was doing all the adulty things of life [paying rent, gas, utilities, working, asking for vacation time, etc.], I just didn't feel like an adult. It was then that I learned, I think, that we're never going to feel like we've arrived at that stage of life we're supposed to feel comfortable in, until we've already left. I've accepted the fact that I will never feel like I've completely arrived as an adult, as a parent, as a wife, as a friend - because we are constantly learning. And that's how it's supposed to be.

Maybe the biggest change is that one year ago, this realization would have scared the pants off me.

Now - it's almost comforting. It's a reminder that we don't have to be perfect. And that life truly is to be taken one slow [or crazybusy] day at a time.

Happy Anniversary.


Taylor Yves said...

man, i was totally looking forward to a magic moment and becoming an adult ... but i guess it's good to be forewarned.

Joy said...

This is a wonderful post.
I love your thoughts on this.
[sounds of my hands clapping -- but not sarcastically].
more like double time.
bc i so agree with you. :)