the start

I feel like I was much younger when I started this blog a year ago. Since then: four months in France, culture shock and reverse culture shock, back to college life, a whole lotta ups and downs, grant writing and (thankfully) receiving, a very stressful semester and a big change that has caused me to re-evaluate the way I see myself and my life. I’m trying to find the silver linings, to see the good in it all – it is there, I know.

If I feel like I’ve aged so much in the past year, I wonder how I will look back on myself this summer, living back in my hometown where most people I interact with knew me when I was 15. Or 12. Or 7. And some of the people I’m working with for my projects haven’t seen much of me since middle school. I’m trying to be (/seem like/act like) an adult this summer, and I think I’ve generally been successful, but I fall back into childhood seamlessly – tromping through the horse barn in tall, rubber boots, napping on the red couch, sitting in a high school best friend’s basement.

A year from now I will be done with college (commence the TERROR of that) and thrown fairly unprepared into the real world, and I am really feeling the weight and imminence of it this summer. So I guess I should revel in the childhood moments? Or concentrate on sharpening the adult moments? Work on my mingling skills (do real people call it networking?) or research future job ideas? Child or adult or somewhere in between, I am working hard to see the beauty of here and now. Barbara Kingsolver writes,

Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life: a frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, a loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home. It’s impossible to think at first how this will all be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living. In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.

So here are my glorious things as of late,

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