When I graduated a few years back, I had dreams. Big dreams.
In my cap and gown, I scribbled on a little paper what I hoped for out of life within a few years time. My classmates and I are standing in line, just about to walk on stage. We giggle, we fret, we fix our tassels and tap our feet waiting for the Pomp and Circumstance graduation march to begin. It was our turn. After 4 years of midterms, finals and last minute cramming, we made it.
“Quick! Gimme your back!”
I lean on a girl whose name I no longer remember and list down the first things I think off. I sign it off “Good luck me!” with a star and a heart.
For a while, that little paper was framed in the first ever studio I could afford on my own. I made the frame myself. In a brand new one bedroom apartment, the frame was placed behind a few take-home projects on the mantle piece. There, it shifted places several times from living room to bedroom.
In a spacier apartment with a killer view, that black and red Rolling Stones frame I so carefully crafted was thrown out and the list I once excitedly wrote was added to my university memo box. It was meant to serve as a reminder for me not to stray too far from a wide eyed dream.
None of those goals ever materialized. My career path took a sharp turn into unexpected territory. Like most things we compromise on, it started out as a means to pay rent. I can’t pinpoint when my current profession officially swapped places with my first job aspiration.
But I can live with that.
I am passionate about my work even if it is distanced from my area of studies. The hardest thing to accept is that I no longer recognize myself. Not that I had a clear idea of who I am at graduation, or at any point in life really. It is just worse now. I have been doing things so out of character it is starting to scare me, no matter how blurred the lines have always been around what defines me. Somewhere in those years that elapsed since graduation, I either changed or lost the few concrete things I knew about myself.
Maybe I am re-calibrating to the person I was before I met the young man who left me a few months ago, also known as RS. I let die the smallest one millimeter spec of who I am to compromise for him.
Or maybe I was already changing before he left. I never really got a clear explanation for him leaving. I tried to find sense within the scraps of reasons he offered. The best I could figure was we must have grown apart somewhere down the line. Maybe he too no longer recognized me.
Or maybe, just maybe this is that horrible thing they call “growing up”.
I just don’t know anymore. I can tell you who I was, and who I became but there is one hell of an empty gap where “who I am” should be.