Tonight my summer came to a close, or at least the Waltham portion of it. I spent the weekend with Adam and Kelli in Newport, and it was peaceful. We saw Garden State today, and it was uplifting. Kelli and I watched the Olympics and she explained to me the intracicies of gymnastics, and it was really nice to just relax with a neat person and not worry about anything.
On Monday, I pack and tie up loose ends. On Tuesday I head home for two weeks prior to returning for the start of my last year at Brandeis. Summer is over. School is beginning. My last year, senior year. The end of the line. How did it all go by so quickly?
This was my first summer spent completely away from home, and through it, and by reflecting on my past few years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that I’m not as much of a loner as I thought I was, or at least I’m not as much now as I have been in the past. I need to be around people and doing fun activities with others to feel happy. At the same time, I’ve proven that I can make it on my own. I’ve never doubted this, but others have, and I hope they’re satisfied.
I’ve learned that I’m afraid of what comes after college, of the mundanity of real life. I don’t enjoy working eight hours a day at doing the same thing, I don’t enjoy office politics and meetings that don’t accomplish anything and doing things that aren’t interesting and new. Most of all, I don’t enjoy the prospect of not being around friends all the time, not in a place where I can just go knock on a door or send an IM and meet someone for dinner. Of being out somewhere in the wide world, disconnected from everyone I’ve met and known over these past three years, seperated by geography and life circumstance and the demands of work, and the limitations of time and money.
I’ve learned that the people I know have come from very different experiences and backgrounds and families and educations, and that no one is better then another, they are just different. I’m done with being jealous of people who had better or different opportunities than I. I still often think about what might have been, but there are so many different might have beens that its just really silly to worry about it too much. After all, I might never have been born, and really, that’s not a good starting point! I’m happy with what I have, with the opportunities I have been given, with the things people have done to make my life really good, without me even asking, or necessarily realizing it at the time. And I’m happy to look forward, and think about what I can do next, rather then what I could have done before.
I’ve learned that I need to be nicer to people. That I need to praise more, to say thank you more, to ask myself more often, “how can I be of use to the people around me?” I need to be more tolerant of those who don’t understand, less angry at those who make me feel embarassed or stupid, more willing to admit when I am wrong. I think to some extent I am good at being open minded, but I’m not necessarily as good at being teased about my mistakes, and I need to be. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, there really isn’t much point.
I’ve learned that its okay to not really be sure where home is. It is all right to feel that you have multiple places you can call home, and it is perfectly normal for home to not be fixed to a specific location, or time, or set of people. Home is where you are most comfortable and happy and free to be yourself, and home need not be a place.
I’ve learned that its not too late to make new friends, or to renew old ones. I’ve learned that there are lots of interesting people all around me that by the strange flow and ebb of life I might never see, but if I just look a little harder, I might find things that are wonderful.
I’ve learned that optimism is better then pessimism, but sometimes pessimism can be hard to shake.
I’ve learned that exercise can be fun. That long walks can be exhilirating. That physical activity makes me feel good. That sitting around makes me feel unfulfilled. That just because you have a car does not mean you need to use it. That there is a lot of stuff out there that you just don’t see by passing through, that you only see when you start walking for the sake of walking, and don’t worry about where it is precisely that you’re going.
I’ve learned that there are some things you just shouldn’t post on a blog. And if you have something to say to someone, you should stop obsessing and just say it. You never know what might happen.
I’ve learned that telephones need not be scary.
I’ve learned that paying someone to listen to your problems and offer help and advice isn’t always as kooky as it sounds, you just need to find the right person.
I’ve learned that time can tick by slowly or fly by in an instant. That movies can continue to inspire me. That television is still, occasionally, an art form. That books can be really, really good. That sometimes you need to look at the big picture and just not worry so much about the details. That sometimes details can be extremely important. That you shouldn’t judge people or organizations without taking the time to understand them. That there is a difference between a friend and an aquaintance, and that both are good, and that you really don’t need to worry overly about whether someone is one or the other because, really, it will all become clear with time.
I’ve learned that sometimes I can write, and sometimes I can’t, and I just don’t know on any given day which one its gonna be until I try.
And most of all, I’ve learned to trust myself, and to feel good about myself, and to be myself, even when it hurts, even when it would be easier to be someone else. And I think that is the most important lesson of this summer.