I’m at home now for spring break, and feeling antsy already. It must be a testament to how much I love Berkeley and my apartment that I don’t get giddy like so many other college students at the thought of coming home. I like being home and I love my family, but I’m just not used to living here anymore, I guess. When I’m here I wake up later than I want to and go to sleep much, much later than I intend to, I cook a lot and exercise little, and I spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer just because there’s nothing else to do. And I never understand how all this happens. I’m usually so organized. I’m starting to think maybe this is all just because I haven’t yet found a good way to live “ at home” in a place that is no longer my main home. I’m not a high school student anymore, with my school routine to keep me busy, my friends nearby to entertain me, and my parents bugging me about all the things they know I have to do. But I’m not a fully independent adult either, just coming back to visit my parents and stay in their house as a sort of guest. So I get stuck between falling into habits left over from high school, like letting my mom do all my laundry, and trying to keep up my current usual life, which includes cooking my own food and doing an hour and a half of exercise every weekday. So far the high school activity level tends to win out, from strength of habit I guess, but this doesn’t make me happy. I just can’t seem to find a balance between the two. There’s a weird feeling of being both a kid and an adult… or maybe that feeling touches more parts of my life right now than just the issue of spending spring break at my family home.
As a college senior, I feel like I’m expected to have a sense of anxiety and loss, of standing at a crossroads without a map. Graduating from college is supposed to be a big deal. I don’t have that sense, and it worries me that maybe I’m missing some huge angst-ridden perspective-creating period here. Actually, I wouldn’t say that I’m without worry. But a lot of elements that worry other people my age aren’t problems in my case. I’m in a stable relationship, and Erik and I just had a long talk on Saturday about what we want in the near future, so we know where we each stand on that. I’m ninety-five percent sure of where I’ll be in September, and although it’s not in the Bay Area as I’d wished, it’ll still be in California, and that’s close enough to my family and places I’m used to, but far enough to provide me with a whole new world to explore (though, as I’m learning, the thrill of discovery frequently lies closer than you think). New developments indicate I may not have to worry financially as much as I’d thought, either, which takes a big load off my mind. So I have a path to take, and that’s more than a lot of people can say. But lately I’ve been worrying that maybe this isn’t the correct path. At the forefront of all this stress is the question of whether academia is really the place for me. I was talking about this with Margaret, who is waiting to hear back from med schools, and, reassuringly, we’ve both had the same thought. She’s considered moving to the woods of Maine and becoming a writer, I’ve thought about reneging on my academic training and becoming an artist. Never mind that my talent is decorative at best and that the serious art world may be just as disappointing as I fear the academic world will turn out to be. I’ll adopt a bohemian lifestyle and express my creativity regardless of what the so-called serious artists think. Actually, I’d make a terrible starving artist and would probably sell out in no time to whatever big corporation would have me, just so I could continue with the luxuries I’ve grown used to: regular dance and/or yoga classes; organic, imported or otherwise gourmet food; spacious and sunny living quarters. But sometimes I just feel like there must be more to life than the path I’m afraid I might be pursuing, and I’m worried that I’m starting on a trajectory from which there’s no (easy) turning back.
Does this sound like a mid-life crisis? Am I figuring out at twenty-two that I want more from life than what I’ve chosen up to this point? I hope not, because that means hard decisions and possibly big changes that I’m not sure I’m ready to make. But, on the other hand, what is life without constant change and meaningful decisions? Maybe it’s better to realize what I want earlier and not have to go through it at age fifty. Ha, I’ve just realized that maybe what I’m saying here is that I’m at this same crossroads as everyone else, only I have a map. And what I can’t decide is whether to use the map, or throw it out and go wherever my feet will take me.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]
i don’t think the prospect of graduation necessarily means a great deal of angst. well, i’m not officially graduating but i don’t feel any angst, and i’m going through all these courses as if i were a graduating senior (with needing to get senior design stuff ready for senior engineering showcase and needing to get paintings done for the senior art show) and thinking about my plans after the semester as if i were graduating, and i’m so excited about “Graduating” that i have to remind myself that i’m not graduating. it sort of makes me not look forward to next semester. but i digress. i feel really at peace at the prospect of leaving college, but that could also be because i know what i want to pursue after graduation. but it sounds like you have plenty of things you would love to pursue, and don’t forget… pursuits don’t have to be mutually exclusive 🙂 maps are always good to have around, but the great thing about a map is that there isn’t just one path to take, it’s there as a guideline, and it reminds you of the “bigger picture” of where you want to be in the end. so use your map, but have fun with it! 🙂
Thank you Alison. 🙂 (I’m taking the no-signature as your personal signature.) That does make me feel better. You’ve reminded me of all the good things about my path, and why I haven’t worried up to this point. I tend to worry too much in general–maybe I should take this as a reminder to just sit back and enjoy the ride. 🙂 Which is what I should always be trying to do anyway!
Hope you’re well!
very keen, yes it’s alison – once again i forgot to sign my name. thanks for the well wishes and the “cake!” i’m doing “okay”. i wish i could say i was doing “better” but hopefully this weekend can fix my academic woes 🙂
Hope so. 🙂