(This post was originally published on Alyssa's personal blog.)
I get lots of great advice from lots of great people, but I never find myself actually taking it (I can’t afford a psychiatrist, Mom…), for no reason whatsoever except that the advice is probably completely solid and I don’t want to admit it to myself. So when I went shopping with my cousin A.J. the other day and whined throughout most (meaning all) of the car ride, I wasn’t so sure if I was truly seeking words of wisdom from her, or because sometimes (meaning all of the time) I just feel the need to vent relentlessly. But if you’re lucky enough to have never had to listen to me do this, (sorry to family, friends, and random strangers in Starbucks who have…), then I should probably mention just how much I overanalyze every. single. thing; I like invented making mountains out of molehills, you know what I mean?
So while poor A.J. was most likely discreetly trying to rip her hair out, I began to break down each minute of the weekend in my typical fashion: why did I do this, why didn’t I say that, why didn’t I let this person go, why didn’t I let this person in, why did I send this text on February 15th, 2013, etc. And she’s been around the world and back again (and is an amazing writer so don’t ever let her tell you otherwise), so we started talking about traveling, and the stories that she took down in her journal, everything that she has done and seen, and how she said that the only time that she’s ever felt settled has been while she’s moving around. (See, I told you, she’s the next e.e. cummings.)
My thoughts/(life…) are equally as scattered right now, so when I told A.J. I wanted to do a post together, I completely blanked and couldn’t give her a definite theme about what I wanted it to be about; I had all of these pieces of what I wanted to say or convey but couldn’t make them fit together. But we both kept going back to the fall, (and because I have to put some use to this English degree), and how we can call the season a metaphor - probably one of the most significant even - to represent change.
Ironically, change seems to be the only thing that’s truly constant right now, and I can’t put into words how strange this transition is to me, this confusion and this clarity, this first year. I find myself worrying as I look back and worrying as I look forward, never fully accepting the now because right now is the now and I can handle that just about as much as I handled the Friends finale (which I didn’t handle at all) ((“she got off the plane” … don’t even tell me you didn’t cry over that)).
I keep having this recurring dream that there is an assignment that I haven’t passed in yet and before I get a chance to finish it, I wake up thinking I’m back in my apartment in Durham, a half-empty (meaning totally empty) pizza box on the floor, my roommate Kristen and I trying (and failing) to remember what happened the night before, and my other roommate Gena under a pile of coats on the couch (#neverforget ugly sweater party 2014), even after all of this time. And no matter how many leaves I try to gather up into my arms, willing summer to just please stay, even if it’s only for a moment longer, it’s inevitable, it’s here, fall’s happening.
The fall has always meant starting school, starting work, starting over. And now, I’m not sure what it means, what it’s supposed to mean, where I’m supposed to go from here, with nothing certain to look to for the first time. And maybe I ask for advice just so I won’t have to follow my own. And maybe things will only make sense when they don’t make any sense at all. Maybe it’s okay to feel restless, unsettled. Maybe that’s how you should feel.
“Maybe it’s always the first year,” she said.
Spend it well.