I am wearing open-toed shoes today, for the first time since the fall. Hence: it must, officially, be spring. Also my nose is running, more proof. To which I say: bring it on! I am more than ready.
Yesterday was one of those days that is just full of strange juxtapositions, the oddest of which commenced in the evening. I was invited by a very sweet former student of mine to come speak at her sorority, for a scholarship dinner. Now, I have very little experience with the Greek system. Growing up in here in Chapel Hill, you have only the broadest view of the fraternities and sororities: the parties, the houses, people dancing on the front lawn during Rush. (Although I don’t believe they do that anymore.) Once I came to school here, though, I saw that a lot of my assumptions were wrong, and I made friends with lots of folks who were Greeks. But last night was my first time in a sorority house. The girls were so nice, and the food great, and then I had to get up and talk about the importance of scholarship.
To be honest, this stymied me momentarily, as I wasn’t sure exactly what I knew about that, really, but my student told me she was sure I had some good advice for students about to go out into the world. So I ended up talking about how it’s so hard in college to know exactly what you want to do with your life, although everyone assumes you should, and how the choices you make right after graduation aren’t permanent. That nothing is permanent, which can be both a bad thing but also a very good one. I talked about how I’d left UNC and went to work at the Burrito, how I wrote every day, even though nobody cared if I finished a book, and how I knew writing was the thing I was meant to do because no matter how hard I worked at it, it didn’t feel like work. In fact, I couldn’t imagine a life without it. And how that’s how you know what your true calling is, really: when you want to do it, even when it’s hard or impossible and you’re all on your own. Sometimes, it takes a while to figure it out. But when you know, you know.
When I was done with the dinner, I got in my car on the first true Spring evening so far this year, and drove over to pick up Scout’s ashes. Quite a juxtaposition, right? On the way I was feeling really sad, and I started thinking about everything I’d just said about the things you can plan for, and the things you can’t. This last week was big time proof of that. Then I thought about all those girls back at the house, and how I wished I’d been able to say something really meaningful, something true about What Comes Next. But the truth is, you just never know until you’re there. Life isn’t predictable, and that’s part of the fun and the terror, all at once. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my time waiting for my real life to begin: I did it in high school, in college, and maybe even last month. But sometimes, like last night in both the things I did, it’s more than clear. And like I said: when you know, you know.
Have a good day, everyone….