It's my senior year of college and I find myself aghast at the speed with which time has whizzed by these past 4 years. There's just no way I'm about to turn 22, about to graduate college, and go into the "real world" with nothing but a degree in two humanities under my belt (insert crazy tongue Emoji here bc double majoring in English and Religion seemed like a good idea when I was 18 but now, in the wake of a global pandemic, it feels a bit unnecessary), but that's neither here nor there.
This is the first time in my life I can remember not having any clue where I'll be in a year. Even when I was a senior in high school, I knew I'd be a college student somewhere, tucked safely into the insulated shell of academia for four more years. Call me a control freak, but I've always liked to imagine myself in a year from now-- what I'll be doing at this very moment, where I'll be living, who I'll be friends with, what books I'll have read, what I'll have learned, etc. It gives me a sense of peace for some reason. For example, I remember last January, my roommates and I had just signed the lease for our current house. It was just a 3-minute drive from campus, so if I ever passed it on my way back to school I'd casually drive down the street just to imagine myself a year from then-- cooking in the kitchen, having Bachelor nights, my cute bedroom, getting ready to graduate, reading for class until 2 a.m. and inevitably falling asleep on the sofa, laughing with my roommates on the back porch over cups of coffee. You know, normal things.
Never in my wildest dreams could've I imagined I'd actually be where I am right now-- okay, I'm living in the house I signed the lease for with all of my original roommates, so yes, that happened, and I'm still getting ready to graduate college, so yeah, that rings true. But I never would've imagined myself sitting at my desk, AirPods in, taking notes as my professor teaches class virtually because it's not safe to do so in person. I never pictured myself yelling "WHERE'S MY MASK!?!" as I frantically rush out the front door. I never imagined we couldn't have birthday parties, football games, sorority events, let alone class. I never imagined talking about vaccines, covid tests, and social distancing as part of my daily reality. No one did. I think I'll forever grieve what was lost in the past year, but so much growth has come from it.
Right now, I'm sitting at my desk next to the window that overlooks my front yard. The sun shines a cardboard-colored tint on the grass that browns in January, my neighbor's porch light is still on even though it's 2 in the afternoon, and I'm home alone. If you had shown me this glimpse of myself a year ago, I'd have thought, "Makes sense. Doing homework in the middle of a weekday afternoon." But there are hints of a different life around me-- the Zoom app in the bottom right corner of my screen, the remote internship I log into.
Where will I be a year from now? Can I picture myself on February 2, 2022?
No, absolutely not.
I have a vague sense of where I'd like to be. I've prayed about it a lot. I'll for sure be in grad school, but beyond that? I think I'll be working an unknown job in an unknown city. Maybe Nashville? Maybe New York? Maybe I'll just have to buck up and move home for a few months so I can save money before starting my life? I don't know, and it all scares me so much. I hate the "not knowing," but that's exactly where we find God, it seems.
I never want to forget the way it feels to sit here in the dull sunshine of a Birmingham February. The specific slant of light that glares through my living room windows. The uneven floors in our hallway. These are things I hold onto, cherish, relish, and already regret not soaking up more. I already wish I lived a little more in these last few months. I already wish I had stayed longer, seen that person, gone for that drive, not slept in that morning. I already regret letting myself get consumed in post-grad plans in my last months of college, although it feels necessary.
This isn't advice, this isn't even my own personal anecdotes or wisdom on this subject. This is just my prayer, my plea-- Lord, don't let it all slip away so quickly! Let it linger in reality and in memory! Let these last months of college be a lasting blessing in wherever I might go next. Use them to make me a better servant for You, and help me to TRUST YOU WHOLEHEARTEDLY in the planning process for the next year.
PS: the above photo is my roommate Jessica smiling in the brown February grass of our front yard on the day she found out she got a spot in her dream discipleship program for next year! Praise be! Texas is getting a good one :)