When I was a senior in high school, I had no idea what was going to happen after graduation. I knew that I was supposed to go to college, and had even been admitted into one. But I could not envision actually going. It all seemed blurry and impossible, like somehow life was going to stop after graduation day. I registered for classes, signed up for a dorm room, and did all the things, while still not believing I would ever step onto the college campus.
After starting college (and clearly stepping foot onto the campus), the unknown shifted to what I was going to major in and therefore do after college. A random conversation in the cafeteria my first semester led to my decision to major in religion (because it was the least boring idea I had heard…not saying it was a good reason for the decision). The job plan remained unclear all through my four years at that institution. I would get closer to an idea, like children’s ministry, only to back away again when I found it didn’t fit like I thought.
Now in adulthood, I know what my plans are for tomorrow, but thinking about next month or next year feel just as blurry as when I attempted to see my future as a teenager. The university I was working at closed while a pandemic affects the global job market and social connections. Races I had signed up for are all either virtual or cancelled. Potential trips are on hold for safety. And yearly rituals like the Starlight Parade, the Central Washington State Fair, and my family’s garage sale are gone.
Everything in the future is a blur, which makes what is right here and right now come into sharp focus. Since I cannot plan for a full-time job, I say yes to adjunct teaching, housesitting, and other opportunities. With my 50K delayed a year, I head out several times a week for a six mile run through my neighborhood without concern for how fast or slow I go. My travels take me primarily to Target, leaving time to organize and clean my home to make it the best space possible. And new traditions are being formed, like Hamilton with my Boyfriend on the Fourth of July or evening walks to break up time with screens.
What is out of focus is not missing, it is just not the point right now. It will be clear in time. In the meanwhile, we need to see what is close to us: our loved ones, our safe spaces, and our efforts to support one another. And a dozen roses from my birthday are just a bonus opportunity to focus on something good instead of the blurry.
“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.