February 17, 2011

A Brief Interlude on Why I Have Been So Out of Sorts of Late


Let me begin here: I love my iPhone. 

I love it.  I really don’t know what I did without it.  It holds my life within it; schedule, contact information, instant access to the rest of the world.  It’s like having a secretary who doesn’t talk back or call in sick or misunderstand me.  It goes with me everywhere and on the odd day when I accidentally leave it somewhere where I am not, I feel like a part of me has been unceremoniously lopped off.

Yes, I know, this says something deep about my generation and our indoctrination into the dependency upon technology to live.  You know what?  I’m okay with that.

However.  It does mean that this entire process of waiting for decision letters (which have now become e-mails in our aforementioned age of wondrous technology) is a constant, frenetic, on-edge, nail-biting thing.  Between the hours of nine and five every day, every time my little phone vibrates with a new e-mail I feel compelled to drop whatever it is that I may be doing, take a deep breathe, steady myself, and prepare to receive the news.  It also means that whenever said event occurs, I experience a rush of relief and frustration that the e-mail is just another update from my knitting list serve or godiva trying to sell me chocolate (not that I don’t love yarn and chocolate, but they certainly aren’t decision letters).  When I get e-mails outside of normal work hours, I have to remind myself not to get excited.  No decision letters will go out at ten PM.  I can relax.  I don’t need the phone at my elbow while I’m at karaoke on Wednesday nights.  The weekends are utter limbo.  I picture piles of applications sitting on desks in some big room with oak bookshelves and justice-league-like spinning chairs at long tables, dormant until the committees return on Monday.  Yet still I have programmed myself to check, every time, without fail.  It’s well near impossible for me to actually unwind these days.

The strangest thing about this entire situation was that I couldn’t encapsulate the feeling succinctly for the longest time.  I knew that I was on-edge, I knew that I wanted to hear back, but without a paragraph of exposition I just wasn’t able to describe why I was feeling this way.  Yesterday, as I was reading The Turn of the Screw of all things, it came to me.  I had to refrain from posting immediately on facebook (like the good twenty-first century girl that I am) so I could mull the idea through for a while.  However, after a few workouts and some thinking, I’m ready to share this light bulb with the greater online community.

I am, slowly, attempting to come to grips with the fact that sometime in the next few weeks I will receive an e-mail that will, one way or another, change the rest of my life.

Woah.  Big stuff.  Scary stuff.  Like facing down a five-headed monster of chomping, grinding, half-sensible, rabies-filled teeth armed only with a sword, shield and your past experience.  It’s like standing on the brink of eternity, staring down into a deep dark abyss of your own potential and knowing that it will manifest but uncertain as to how.  It’s like repeatedly flagellating yourself with the notion that you are good enough and have done the best you can but damn it’s going to hurt if someone else doesn’t recognize that, but why should you need that recognition anyway because what does the rest of the world know they’re just an ivy league institution that already denied you entrance in your undergrad so why should they change their opinion about you now it’s not like you’re a different person than you were seven years ago and oh god I just want them to like me already.

….But at the same time there’s a serene acceptance that a plan is already in place.  With one acceptance letter in hand (and funding to boot) I know that I have somewhere to go, I know that I will achieve my goals in that somewhere, and I know that that somewhere is pretty kick ass.  But I can’t get too excited about that somewhere in the off chance that something better comes along because really it’s not over until the fat fellowships sing.

I just want to start looking for apartments.  Is that so much to ask?  I would love to start filling in the barest brush-strokes of the next five to six years of my life.  Pondering neighborhoods.  Applying to supplementary teaching positions.  Trying to figure out how to fit my budget together.  Not to mention mentally preparing for a move either closer to or farther from certain friends and relations…

It is, officially, past the middle of February.  Any day now, I will know.  Any day?  Any moment.  It could come at any time.  Sneak attack me while I’m in class.  Creep up on me while I’m at the gym.  Bombard me while I’m at work.  It could come from any corner, any cranny, any nook, and I just have to be poised to receive it.

Yea, poised to receive the landscape of the rest of my life.  No big deal, right?

1 comment:

Liz said...

There are a great many decisions that change the rest of your life. It's just not that often that you can point to one in advance and say - yes, this thing will change my life. Most of the time you don't know them til you can look back, and often people don't.

Case in point. I went to library school at the University of Michigan. It did not make me a librarian. However, it made me meet a man who would become my husband. Meeting such man caused me to move to Connecticut because he got a job there. Moving to Connecticut let to my switching my plans and going to school for education, and getting a job in the next town over. Which caused me to meet Tina, who was the student who told me about MJ. Which led me to the thing that has has such a profound effect on my last 10 years of life and basically nearly everyone I ever interract with anymore who is not a family member.

So, getting into library school at the University of Michigan changed my life. Just not in the way I'd have predicted.