I went to my college town a few weeks ago for my best friend’s graduation. I spent the time eating my weight in local food; breathing in the smell that’s shared, for whatever reason, by every downtown store; and letting fresh, green mountains blend into me and lighten me.
It was a perfect weekend, but I haven’t spent the following weeks longing to go back — physically or in terms of timeline. That time of my life was a bright one, one of the very best I’ve had so far. And it’s in the past, and that’s where I want it to be.
I’ve just gotten started, but so far, I have loved carving out a life in Atlanta. I’ve spent the last months shaping, from close to nothing, a vague understanding of neighborhoods and interstates and what to dive into and what to avoid — a patchwork of fragile understanding laid out against the missteps and thrills of a new job, the joy of a new routine, and the dawning, scary understanding that it’s time to really venture out and start forming some friendships here.
My mom told me that the first year after graduation would be rough, and she was right. I adjust to change like oil to water. I took this one hard, probably took it dramatically, and every part of me wanted to be in my little mountain town with life the way it had been — good, bad, in between — for the last five years. I cringed at every day that made me older. Time was moving too fast.
Now 24 is here, and I’ve been looking at that with some trepidation, but not with dread. Because the past was wonderful, and I loved it, and I miss it — but I don’t want to be there anymore.
I want to be alive in the slice and section of my life that is happening, right now.