Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Counting those blessings

(Freewrite here, so sorry if it's a bit long-winded.)

It’s growing colder here and the last leaves on the trees are finally turning brittle and drifting down to the ground. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which, coincidentally, also marks the start of the final week of the term here.

The last 8 weeks have flown, possibly even faster than the time preceding our departure. I’ve lost track of the whens and whos; it’s become a blur of flash photos snapped in a dark room, frozen images of dwindling afternoons in libraries, of late-night port sessions with flatmates, of jarring shifts between highs and lows. This term precipitated more soul-searching than I ever thought possible. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve actually managed to step outside myself; I’m changing, and if I could only identify in what way, I’d know how to feel about it.

They say that women hit a quarter-life crisis sometimes, and that’s probably the case for me. I don’t really mind, although it does lead to more than its share of illogical panic attacks when you’re perched at the edge of your chair frantically typing a report only to realize that you don’t really know why you’re writing it.

The thankful list is extensive this year, and again, it’s all images. I wish I’d had a camera with me documenting every moment of the year, from dress fitting to scholarship interviews to that long carriage ride when we took nothing with us but our present selves. So, I’m thankful that I have a best friend who could cry on my shoulder as we walked out of that cramped dressing room together before the ceremony began. I’m thankful for the friends who remain close despite the miles from here to Seattle, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Stanford and Boston. I’m thankful for having the bravest, steadfast, compassionate husband I could have conjured up, the one who reminds me that I’ll have company on every wayward step of this journey I’m taking. I’m grateful beyond words for my quirky, irreverent, occasionally embarrassing and always loyal family. They above all made me what I am, and I can’t imagine being able to repay the debt.

I’m even thankful for graduate school, for the unexpected lessons it is teaching me about who I am and what matters enough to be worth scrapping and clawing for.

There’s a gorgeous lyric to a Bright Eyes song that I’ve quoted before, but it’s worth mentioning again…”I’m saying nothing in the past or future ever will feel like today.” Today may not always feel good, but it will always be different, unexpected, and beautiful in its raw, unfinished presentation. That’s worth celebrating, don’t you think?

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