I woke up at 8 a.m. Nothing to signal a drastic change, since this is my first Monday as an adult with a BA in English from Georgetown College. I woke up in my parents’ house. I woke up in my old bed, across from my brother on the other side of the hall. I tossed and turned all night, forgetting where I was and having odd dreams about carnivals and not being able to find people.
Downstairs, my diploma hangs in a nice, matted frame that my dad graciously purchased for me (He knew I’d go to Wal-Mart and get a cheap frame – I already mentioned it). But it doesn’t make me any better than anybody else in the house that’s forced to look at it when they sit on the couch and eat cereal.
Yes, this is the life after.
Life after college. Life after all-nighters. The life after running across campus after a freaky early shift in Campus Safety. Life after organizing books by publisher. Life after gaining 30 pounds due to stress eating. Life after getting straight-A’s. Life after getting into honor societies. Life after not sweeping under my bed. Life after midday naps. Life after occasional loneliness. Life after taping boxes for storage. Life after taking a shower with flip-flops. Life after where I discovered I can’t quite go back to the type of Christianity I had prior to college. Life after church services that tried to lure me because I was “college aged.” Life after church services that were amazing. Life after not being able to find a book in the library. Life after getting a flutter in my chest when I found what I was looking for in the library. Life after prayers and speaking and quiet. Life after cookies for breakfast. Life after volunteering at the local elementary school. Life after TA hours. Life after running into friends in the hallway. Life after sororities. Life after feeling depressed sometimes. Life after getting rejected to that grad school I wanted to go to. Life after getting the Fulbright award that has changed my life (I haven’t even left yet!). Life after taking pictures. Life after the writing center. Life after.
Perhaps this is the life in-between.
In between the Fulbright year, graduate school, maybe getting married, losing a bit of weight, shooting hoops with my brother, going to the pool, reading voraciously, becoming a good Benedictine, preparing myself for a career, learning to separate myself from what others think, updating my resume, and organizing all this stuff.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. This is the life after and the life before.