Exactly a month before I march down the aisle in spotless white, the people I love and respect nodding me on with their faces wreathed in smiles of joy and pride, here I am starting an essay when I should be finishing our thesis instead.
(College graduation is what I mean, lest you start thinking me a bride-to-be in pre-wedding jitters.)
But something is different this time, more than me merely living up to my procrastinating nature. Granted, I find these words I’m typing to be infinitely more interesting (if admittedly nonsensical) than the technical sobriety of academic writing. Yes, I want release, however momentary; I want flight and wind and my Muse awake and unforced. But as my fingers fly over letters and I form them into words, I feel my usual cheekiness somehow checked with… sadness.
So I think: How many articles have I read that, when imagined in verbal form, are nothing less than angsty monologues that talk of recollections down the memory lanes of elementary, high school, and college? How many songs have I heard that, in all actuality, are angsty monologues of hallowed academic halls and friends who vow to be friends forever? How many times have I been amused by them and told myself that “friends forever” is a semi-okay alliteration that however bravely, often gets downgraded soon enough to “textmates forever”, give or take a few years; and that the lanes of elementary, high school, and college have, from overfamiliarity and too battered use, long been the targets of reconstruction and are now highways of maudlin (and quite useless) sentimentality?
And it hits me: Am I suddenly being so maudlin, so uselessly sentimental?
Yes. Yes, I am. Angst has gotten me this time. I find myself feeding it, and feeding on it, and I cannot write a sensible sentence on the potential sustainability of eCenters (our thesis topic) without reflecting that this is the last leg of the race that has taken me seventeen years to run; the race of last-minute papers, exams, dragging recitations and volatile professors; the race of unexpected smiles, therapeutic walks around the Acad Oval (an exercise which a friend and I both insist on calling “mental jogging”), falling leaves, and bursts of inspiration; a race of run-on sentences; a race, without which, quite honestly, I would be a lost and drifting thing.
As I am now.
As I know I will be right after the jubilant congratulations and nightly thanksgiving parties.
It galls me to think that without school and all its requirements, without school and all its rewards, I am still a child peering from the window of my comfort zone out into the hustle and bustle of real world traffic. It galls me to think that I am not ready, that I do not want to be ready, that the cheekiness is there mostly for lively conversation, and (secretly) because it allows me to laugh at the world just a little bit longer. To hold on to bravado and not be scared. Not yet.
Scared? Hah. I’m terrified with the uncertainties.
But at the same time, somehow I am gratified by the sadness I feel. Not because of a penchant for masochism, nor even a liking for angst and “woe to me” situations. It’s because it makes me feel that all I had to go through to run the race was worth it – that every situation, every embarrassing blunder (the Lord knows I’ve had more than my share of these), has made me truly feel and experience. More importantly, the race has taught me to hold on to the Hand that, unbelievably (and so undeservedly), holds me back even tighter.
I am sad and terrified, and I have hope. His Hand is greater than my sadness, stronger than my terror, overcoming me whole. Completely.
And just imagine – He’s much more bigger than our thesis, much more eloquent than my Muses.
Having written that, I know He would want me to heed the calling of the other Word document in my Start Menu now.
There really is nothing like procrastination to push you right back to what you ought to have been doing from the start. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
(Or is it the voices of my thesismates that I hear in my head, plaguing me with guilt?) : )
Written by frozenflame, edited by arwen and first appeared on www.peyups.com on 27th September 2008.