“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention.” —Mary Oliver
My feet have new calluses, and my body has bruises. Tender parts of me are becoming worn and battered before my very eyes.
I’m getting tougher, as I learn this city.
Somehow, I’m beginning to find my way around, as bewildering bus routes become familiar and strange names on a map become regular streets. Eventually, I’ll really know my way around, but for now I’ll celebrate these baby steps.
Being in DC and making all of this work feels like an accomplishment, like badges in adulthood. Bus route? Check. Assembling bedroom furniture solo? Check. Grocery shopping via public transportation? Check. My life here is coming together slowly, and I’m making my way towards the point when this won’t be strange anymore soon, very soon.
My first week of graduate school classes felt like being an undergrad again–except I was 7 years older and a completely different version of myself. I’m learning that what worked for me before might not work for me this time around, and I’m going to try not to mourn or force that (especially when that means learning to enjoy studying in the library, which I loathed during undergrad).
As always, it’s the people that seem to matter most. I’m still learning new faces. (And desperately trying to remember the names that go along with them.) While community doesn’t happen overnight, I’m grateful for the beginnings of friendship.
Mostly, I feel like I’m running around a little crazy. It’s like I’m moving at breakneck speed, and I don’t know when I’ll really slow down.
And now, suddenly, before I even had a chance to realize it, I’ve been in DC for over a month.
Finally, I may have found a routine. I’m still re-learning how to be in school and how to write academically and analyze scholarly texts. Slowly, it’s coming back to me, and I spend most of my days feeling like a sponge, soaking up information, new ways of thinking, and conversations.
I certainly haven’t learned how to juggle it all—I haven’t stepped foot in the gym since I got here, and I’ve eaten a lot of pasta—but that’s not really what I’m striving for these days.
I’ll get the hang of it all, somehow, someway. In the meantime, I’m just looking for growth. I’m trying to pay attention.
And I think back to a year ago when I was scared to death to pursue CCT and about the meandering road I took to get here. I fought this step for so long, and now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. It was all part of the journey I needed to take.
But it isn’t ever what you think it’s going to be. Tonight there was a man was singing “Like a Rolling Stone” at my Metro stop, and I couldn’t get these lines out of my mind. How does it feel? How does it feel to be on your own?
How does it feel? It feels like a lot of work, never enough sleep, and hundreds of pages of reading every week. It feels like sticky humid days and now crunchy leaves. It feels awkward and uncertain, welcoming and encouraging, and challenging and empowering.
Mostly, it feels pretty great.
I’m so grateful.