It seems like yesterday I was first starting college. Bright-eyed and pony-tailed, I was ready to take on the District by storm. I had entered with the intent of majoring in Spanish and minoring in biochemistry, hoping to become a doctor and spread pro-life, woman-friendly (not an oxymoron, at least not how I saw it and still see it) health care throughout the world. I was going to take the world by storm.
This past weekend, while celebrating New Year's in NYC (like any young person who grew up in the NY Metropolitan area) and bidding bon voyage to a dear friend bound for Africa, I realized how much has changed since then.
I have many older friends, so I feel I learn about life by watching them live theirs. Since entering college, I've seen countless friends graduate and prepare for: the military, stints abroad, marriage, grad school, jobs, medical school, law school, the convent, seminary (Protestant and Catholic) and other diverse paths. I've seen friends have children and others bury their parents. I've learned how to see people for who they were. For some, I ended up loving them more and for others, I had to decide it was best for them not to be involved with my life.
Even in my own life, I've changed. I've gone from the naive little girl who never held down a job to a working woman with her own apartment. I burned out of my first program, only to find a second that I was meant for anyway. I've interned, networked, participated in activism, organized movements, questioned my faith, nearly lost it (only to find it and renew it), made stupid mistakes (suffice it to say that I am young), discovered my romantic side, and learned my talents for turning scraps into soup. My appearance also underwent a drastic change. Nearly ten inches of hair were sacrificed for the purpose of reinvention and I traded in my sloppy look for one a bit more upscale yet edgy at the same time.
No longer the girl hovering between two worlds, I've started making a home for myself in the city I love so much. I have a job, a place, a parish, friends, connections, and a social life (both day and night) that I wouldn't trade for the world. No longer the one who needed constant support, I am learning to stand on my own. I'm excited. Learning to stand gives me hope that I can one day fly.
I never step in the same city twice, for my cities have changed and so have I. For that, I am content.