My closest friends and I have been talking about phases of life. Mostly, we speak of the one we’re in and try to make sense of it. And in the midst of that conversation we wonder aloud when the hell it will be over.
What this phase is, I’m still not entirely sure. We’re not freshly graduated. We’re not new to work or adulthood anymore. So many of the mysteries after college have been revealed to us–both the good and the heartachingly awful.
I’ve written enough–perhaps too much–about the post-grad experience. I find it utterly fascinating, but as the days drift by, I sense this precious time ending. That it’s time to put it behind me. To shut the door on this shitty and baffling epoch, the delicious and heady delirium that occurred after I tossed that mortar board on a freezing December day.
The curtains are drawing closed, and when they do, I have no idea what will happen. I wonder if I will stand still, quiet and out of breath. Or if I will take a single beat, turn on my heel, and walk away with a new purpose.
In theatre, before a performance, someone always used to say, Leave it all on the stage.
Leave it all.
On the stage.
If this past year and a half was some kind of elaborate production, I left every part of myself on that stage. Poured my entire being into it and got lost in the lights and sweat and heat and mess and laughter.
I’d like to think I emerged from it better, stronger. More alive than ever.
And I’d like to think it made me ready for something else.
There are few things I love more than driving.
Alone, at night, music piping through the speakers. I am free to hurtle through darkness and simply think.
Tonight, driving home in the heart of July, I thought about what I might miss from this phase of life. As much as I want to leave it–want desperately for this time to be over– I need to pay it some kind of homage. This phase formed me more than any other, shaped me into a person I’m quite enjoying.
But I’m going to miss this part, like a lover I know will one day become a stranger again.
I’ll miss the uncertainty. The way my future stretches before me, unknown and full of promise and fear and newness. I’ll miss money saved and coffee already brewed in the morning. I’ll miss stepping outside and knowing, without question, that on a clear night, I’ll look up and see the stars. I’ll miss the remembering, and I’m almost, almost going to miss the heartbreaks, because through them I learned so much. I don’t want to forget a single moment. I’m going to miss twenty-two and twenty-three being valid excuses. Built-in safety nets. I’ll miss the cocoon that is family and the protection I get by being the baby girl. I’ll miss my nephew this young–so small and trusting. I’ll miss the late nights and the doubt and the writing that flowed like water because I had to get it out, had to see it written somewhere other than my welling chest. I’ll miss weeknight wine with my girlfriends, the women who make me better, the women who make me so fucking proud. I’ll miss the ease of plans and the ability to drop everything and fly to Europe, Seattle, New York City. I’ll miss the tears I thought wouldn’t stop. The tears that don’t fall now unless I tilt my head back and laugh–really laugh–or take a drive and lose myself in the moonlight. I’ll miss the music and the men, the texts and the kisses and the smirks that I can’t relive. The moments I don’t want to. I’ll miss coming into myself so very noticeably. I’ll miss these particular mistakes and wrong turns and the rectification of it all with the salve that is dreaming, praying and grasping for more. I’ll miss forgetting to be careful with this heart of mine. God, I’ll miss that one most of all.
But for every ending there is a beginning, and in the dead of night I feel something unfurling before me. Bricks being laid on a path, even as I sleep.
I can’t see any of it yet. I don’t know it and I can’t touch it or taste it, but it’s waiting in the distance.
Now, before another summer turns to autumn, I’ve just got to find it.