Honey, I’m home.

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Yesterday I went to Athens. For a variety of reasons, it was much stranger coming back to my college town than to my hometown, where I have been (in denial) for three weeks.

I was visiting a pair of dear old friends. It’s a good thing that they are both “dear” and “old” because, for reasons I attribute to exhaustion, culture shock, and crushing aimlessness, my communication these days has been little more than wordless gurgling.

There is a reason, though, that it was good to see these friends. During the past couple of weeks, I have slowly crawled out of my hermit shell and begun to catch up with various people, with mixed results. With some, time had graciously stood still while we were apart. Laughter was easy and understanding effortless. We simply filled in factual gaps. With these friends, my thoughts and conduct were in harmony with my conscience and personality. In other instances, I experienced a disturbing inner dissonance – like I wasn’t fully comfortable with or supportive of what came out of my mouth, or, for that matter, others’ mouths. Having been away from everyone for eight months, it was strikingly easy to compare my interactions.

When I came to Athens, Athens Friend One (we best call him Vladimir, Vlad for short) wisely reminded me that the best people to be around are those around whom you feel you are the best version of yourself. People who push you to think and act in the way you are proud to think and act, who make you feel curious and passionate and excited and positive about the world you’re in.

It’s really quite true.

 

Fountain at Herty Field (Athens, GA)

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“Good luck in the real world”

GA Theatre Good luck

Over three weeks have passed since I graduated from the University of Georgia, and I am completely in denial. I haven’t moved so much as a coffee mug out of my house in Athens. I am riding my lease out through the summer, after which the house I am renting, along with my bubble of denial, will be unceremoniously demolished.

I have graduated and don’t know what to do next.

On May 10, Saxby Chambliss delivered the commencement address at UGA’s graduation. Back when Chambliss ran his Senate campaign in 2002, I was twelve years old. I remember thinking that “Saxby Chambliss” was the coolest name known to politics, and for that reason twelve-year-old-me was a staunch Chambliss supporter. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I became jealous when I found out that Julie Andrews spoke at CU Boulder’s graduation. And while she may not have said anything particularly groundbreaking, leave it to the Queen of Genovia to make hackneyed graduation advice sound mildly refreshing:

“Keep learning as you go. Acknowledge that there will be fear and adversity. Then go out and kick butt.”

Over the past three weeks, I’ve surrounded myself with the comforts of idle life – the beach, chocolate, books, and two seasons of Scandal. In other words, I’ve been neither learning, nor acknowledging, nor kicking butt. After three weeks, I think it’s time for the denial period to come to a close. I may not know what to do with my life, but it is time to learn from and through this identity crisis of mine. Butt-kicking may be far off, but it too shall come.

So here’s to a summer of post-grad learning, of solving problems like Maria and slurping spoonfuls of sugar. Congrats grads!

-MB

(photo thanks to Amanda)