I read a Calvin and Hobbs comic strip a while back that I took to heart. It said (more or less) that in years to come, you won’t remember the studying or test, but you’ll remember what you did instead. (If anyone knows the strip I’m talking about, please send it to me; for the life of me, I can’t find it again). During my undergrad years, I lived up to the strip (but, to my credit, I maintained a decent GPA). I wrote my essays, and memorized my Italian vocabulary, but I still wound up exploring abandoned dormitory buildings past midnight because, hey, why not.
My junior year, I was especially busy. On top of a full-load of classes, I was performing with the circus (which meant practice every day for two+ hours and the occasional work day or performance over the weekend), working at Waldenbooks enough to pay rent, acting as Alice in the play Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and working on a student film. I was ridiculously busy, but I loved it. Every moment of it, I adored because each thing I was part of, to me, was fun. Even work. Even school.
I remember one weekend when we drove out to Panama City Beach to film. I slept between takes, and even then, it was only for a few minutes, as I’d wake to find the crew staring at me and laughing. The next morning, I drove to work where everything had blurry edges and fuzzy lines. I should have gone to sleep after, but instead I saw my friends who I’d neglected the previous two days.
I had this insurmountable drive and passion and I loved it. I could live off two hours of sleep, and still manage to write a five-page essay and not fall horribly at practice.
At some point between then and now, I lost a bit of that momentum. Between graying hairs and lower energy, I’ve started falling asleep early. I enjoy nights in. I hate rushing.
But that same drive still pushes inside me. And that’s why this year is going to be a lot like that previous one. On top of working and graduate school, I’m going to be volunteering at the library, tutoring kids for the SAT and planning a wedding. Sure, not everything is as fun as my activities once were, but I’m busy again. And despite the lack of sleep and stress i’ll probably build up, I’m excited.
Because in the end, it’ll all be worth it. And this time I may not remember the hours that go into my job, but I will remember the look on my friend’s face when I tried on my first wedding gown. It was priceless. And my journal needs more memories like that.