I finished college almost eight months ago. Somedays that feels like a life time and somedays it does not. I still feel a strange sensation when my lips form the ‘no’ after being asked if I have a student card in shops. I feel like I should still have that right. By all intents and purposes some days I still feel like a card-carrying member of the student population.
I think interning perpetuates this feeling. As interns, we are constantly being reminded of our place in the world—ie the very bottom of a muddy pile—and how little we know, how much we have yet to grow. While knowing ‘out place’ is important it can also be a challenge after the high of graduation, where everyone sings your praises and sends cheery salutations. Internships can we wonderful, valuable, enriching periods of time and they can also be frustrating, degrading and menial. While we can hope to gain, wish for, and seek the former, a mix of both is more common in my experience.
Moving to America less than a year after my cousin died and my niece was born and finishing college and having strangers move into my family home wasn’t a good idea. I know that now. It was too much, too fast, and too emotional. Now we are here and we can only go forward, we cannot go back.
We are making the most of it. Some days making the most of it is staying in and watching hours of Friends reruns on Netflix. Sometimes making the most of it is hopping in the car for a much needed day trip to the sun. Sometimes making the most of it is crying when you get in the door from work in the evening. It is all living and it is all progress.
I am letting go of my expectations, hopes and plans for this year and really exploring what it is to simply be here. For example, when I first started feeling lonely, I immediately felt a desperate need to fix that feeling. I asked myself questions and worried and stressed about finding friends and ridding myself of this horrible emotion. Now I recognise that sometimes I will feel lonely. It makes sense to feel lonely because I don’t have friends here like I have at home. I recognise that loneliness and say to myself ‘so this is loneliness, it’s not so bad.’ And it is ok. For the most part the emotion moves on and I feel something else. I am no longer feeling tethered to the weight of passing feelings. I have gained perspective.
Rich and I joke that we are on the accelerated learning path to adulthood. I can feel myself growing here. It hurts sometimes., growing pains do—they leave no mark and will most likely be forgotten, but in the moment they are a reminder that we are all a work in progress.