Snow has come early this year.
I’d forgotten how much I missed snow; last year at this time, it was raining (and it didn’t stop until mid-march).
Waiting, smiling, oddly caught between two worlds: Such is existence now.
Settling in to a new place reminds me of the fleetingness of life. A few months have passed; a few new laws have come into being (and I’ve received frantic emails reminding me that, although my current state of residence has legalized marijuana, I would be wise not to partake in the festivities); my strapped-for-money Christian college has managed to bash headlines by allowing alcohol sales in their conference center (although they somehow have never realized how much alcohol is made in the chemistry department on a daily basis). I’ve written tests, studied until my brain died, come closer to realizing the unbelievable diversity of political opinions in existence, and eaten far too much ice cream. I’ve been hired to teach German (gap years really do pay off). I’ve thought about what I should do with my life, talked to people about what I should do with my life, received advice about what I should do with my life, given people advice about what they should do with their lives–and, still, nothing’s really changed. I’m still Sarah, one homo sapien sapiens of eight billion on this earth (and three orbiting it).
Life. So complicated! So crazy! I don’t know what to do about it. There’s all the crazy microbial creatures that swim happily in our guts, digesting our food and controlling our mood, and occasionally morphing into much more . And then there’s the nefarious naegleria fowleri, a single-celled organism (well, technically amoeba, but most people don’t know what that means) that likes to swim in ponds and sometimes people’s noses, where it noses its way up into someone’s brain, giving the person obnoxious headaches while munching away their cognitive capabilities.
But, biology aside, life is complicated, and being “home” has only amplified that fact. Somehow I expected that, upon returning to the snowy USA, I would have a clear expectation of what to do with life. I though I would know what classes to take, what internships or research positions or jobs to apply to, what classes to take each semester, which people to befriend, which people to impress. I thought, I thought, I though. And I’m still thinking, with less knowledge of what I should do with my life than anytime else.
The world’s awfully big. Crazy big. And I could do practically anything (well, probably not astrophysics) and do it well. That, I suppose, is what it means to be young: To have generally unlimited and undecided choices ahead of you. Some people, I suppose, never really get the chance to be young like that. I, however, do.
At this point, I somehow want to connect this challenging choice-making to my experience in Germany. Because, those eleven months had an awfully enormous effect on how my brain disseminates and understands the world. It gave me–it gives me–so much more than I could have anticipated before I dragged my (way over the weight limit) carry-on down United’s always blue-carpeted aisle. I somehow can’t communicate the change in my deepest understanding of existence.
I can merely say that I grew, learned, and developed a new framework for evaluating myself, others, and the social systems that connect us.
In my high school lit classes, we would always talk about the power of frozen water in literature, how it snows when someone needs cleansing when someone is becoming something new. It’s sort of like a baptism translated into ink. Snow is accepting the fact that, because of the awkward three dimensions we exist within, the past is irretrievable, and the future is the only way forward, be it blessing or curse.
And thus the page turns, despite (or because of) the fact that I have no idea what I am going to scribble on the other side.
(P.S. Life has been busy and I’ve been learning the not-so-easy-way that my perfect day would have about 127 hours instead of a measly 24. Thus, this blog post is quite tardy. Please accept my sincere apologies.)