Listen. Do you hear that?
That is the sound of 17 years of schooling grinding to a hault. It's the sound of years of learning swirling around, of the brain recognizing that it's only just begun to grasp the universe around it. It is the noise of a restless mind tipping, turning, flipping, examining, filing, and meditating.
I've finally graduated college, and I suddenly find myself in a place I've never been. The scenery seems to echo familiarity, but suddenly everything is new and different and strange. Nothing has changed, but everything has shifted. Life has taken one of it's quantam leaps and forgotten to inform me of the trajectory change.
I thought I was ready for this. In a lot of ways, I am ready for this. I'm ready for my wife and I to have a steady income. I'm ready to be able to pursue my goals and objectives, to make my dreams a reality, without the roadblock of 24/7 paper writing and textbook reading. I'm ready for 9-5.
I just didn't think it would feel so weird. School has been part of my life for so long that it's strange to have it gone. It's like a hum that you've lived with your entire life, invading your ear every moment of every day since you can remember, and suddenly it is no longer there. In it's place is silence, and the silence is new and exciting and a little bit unnerving. Because silence leaves space, and space can get tricky. Space allows for thoughts to run wild and distractions to drift away. It allows for questions, not answers, and for all of its good things it brings with it the danger of paralyzing fear. What if? Good question.
But if there is one thing I have learned in my years on this earth it's that allowing that paralyzing fear to take hold is not only unhelpful, it's downright dangerous. As soon as it gets roots, you begin to lose yourself in a vast spinning world of hypotheticals and paranoia. It's why we like the hum-drum of every day life; it's why we fill every minute of our day with things to do, people to see, and stuff to aquire. Because the minute we get a chance to think, we can feel the vines of doubt creep in, or the ship of uncertainty to drop anchor and stay a while.
This silence in my life right now is like a an ocean standing still as glass. The potential of everything before me, of all the might be's and could happen's, the expectations and wants and needs, is a deafening clatter that has the ability to drive me to my knees, hands over my ears and eyes shut. It has all the power to force me into nothingness, and make me feel insignificant.
But that same silence brings with it the greatest sense of adventure and excitement. When I let that ocean stand before me, nay, even wash over me, I realize that it's power comes from how I shape it and how I choose to see it. It is not there for me to drown in, but rather for me to sail across, course correcting as I go. Because fear can paralyze, but only if you let it. A huge part of my life is completed. An even bigger part of my life is beginning. My wife and I are about to embark on our biggest adventure yet, and we get to do it together. I've got passions, hopes, and someone to share them with. Am I anxious? A little. But moreso I'm looking forward to whatever comes next. I know how fragile life can be, and I know how elastic time can be. One moment has passed, and yet suddenly years have disappeared.
Five years ago, as a college freshman, I wrote a song about my wife, myself, and the uncertainty of such a young relationship. One of my favorite lines in the song is "time is a line on which we're betrayed/September and March just bleed into May/life moves fast, and slow, and every way." We humans have short lives on this earth, and we tend to live them without actually stepping foot out into the world. So much goes by without us even realizing what we are missing because we are too busy trying to get the next thing, or move up one more rung on the ladder of success, or worrying about what might happen if we do or don't do this one thing. As we try and prepare ourselves to get the best of the world, the world passes on by and waves as we look on.
Instead, I'm deciding to enjoy this silence, just as I choose to enjoy every moment of life for what it is in that moment. We have plans, we have hopes, we have goals, but we also have this moment. And that's what life is, in reality: a series of moments connected together, memories strung along and built upon each other in order to create who we are. Each one shapes us, and each one has a purpose. While we cannot live life moment ot moment, without a plan, we can appreciate each experience as it comes, immersing ourselves fully into the human experience.
Listen. Do you hear that? Life is happening. I'm not sure about you, but I'm going to participate.