About a Girl: When Yer Twenty-Two

Over the last two years with this li’l blog, I’ve expended countless words attempting to define and redefine my identity. It’s a tough go for a nomadic college kid – post-adolescence, coupled with the particulars of my familial situation, makes for a murky sense of self. But I keep chugging away, rattling off facts, quirks and circumstances as if, compiled, they’ll be able to make some decoupaged mannequin of me.

Last week, I turned 22. I was to have a college degree tucked tight beneath my belt, able to change my Facebook education status to the past tense re: Northwestern. Things got in the way – I’ll claim responsibility enough to say it was me – and the steps to my future seem a bit more formidable than they did four months ago, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind. A friend of mine suggested recently that I were wallowing (an interesting juxtaposition, it should be noted, to the suggestion from another friend that I was superb at hiding emotions in mixed company), and the idea greatly unsettled me. I’ve long prided myself on my unbridled (public face) of optimism, and I’ve truly got so much to be grateful for. I’m 22, healthy, living in one of the greatest cities in the world and privy (mostly) to an exceptional education in the field of my choice. This is the time of my life in which I am expected to be most carefree and happy consciously. When it’s most permissible that I don’t give a damn about much else other than frolicking and sunshine and friendship. It’s not as if I can hide from my dilemmas. I still have bills to pay, countless accounts and debts to settle before I can sit contentedly, but I’m young, and I’m mostly free, and it’s high time I start acting like it.

For the blissful past few weeks, I’ve resided in a (rat-free) new sublet, this gorgeous little place just a block from where I used to live. Charlie Conway, that beautiful piece of modern machinery, is back in Chicago, rebuilt and repositioned as my iron horse. Spring break, when Charlie finally reappeared, brought the perfect weather for cycling, too; warm, sunny, with the tiniest hint of a lake-induced wind. Just gorgeous (though it should be noted that the gorgeous weather turned fickle and cold and has yet to dissipate. Alas). I have, at minimum, three months with some of the greatest people I have ever known, and those three months will be replete with memories. It’s hard to be pessimistic about what lies ahead; I made it through the winter, and not to perpetuate the cliche, but, truly, there’s sunshine ahead.

This particular post sat untouched in my draft folder on WordPress for a few weeks; Harvey Danger (boo-yah, The Sextarines, I owned that shit at trivia) crooned that “Happiness Writes White,” and it certainly seems to hold true for me. Here’s a snippet of what I’d written:

“This week was Spring Break for Northwestern students, and I was a bit wary of its approach. Work was to be closed, and many of my friends were to jetset to exotic locales (or, if not exotic, to something comfortable and welcoming), and I was to be stuck in an empty apartment with nothing but time. It turned out, though, to be kind of great. I kept myself occupied preparing for the move and, too, enjoying the weather. There was one truly perfect afternoon, taking a good book (the new Jonah Lehrer) to the lakefill, sporting flip flops and shorts, gorging myself on Chipotle and eying the incredible Chicago skyline to the south. This particular afternoon – one that reminded me of the sheer beauty of life – was followed by a rollicking trip downtown to catch “Bring It On: The Musical” – yes, really – a hilarious monstrosity it’s hard to believe actually exists. The week wasn’t through with me yet, though. There was a drinking game set to Mario Kart drenched in debauchery, trivia dominance and a week in heaven spent with a boy I’ve really grown to admire.”

A few things have changed since, sure – not my affection for the boy (The Teacher’s Pet), certainly – and the weather has failed to stabilize or even truly warm, but I’m still right where I want and need to be. Twenty-two started out swimmingly, with a midnight bassoon surprise serenade and a real adult-like night on the town, and it’s been fairly fantastic since. I’m thrilled for what lies ahead; check back for an exciting official announcement in the next few weeks. I’m ironing out the details now and am itching to make a more public statement*!

Happy (almost) May,
The Girl

*Like my blog is public or viral. Guffaw.

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