I believe there is one harsh reality that many people face after graduation: that life isn't actually like what you experienced while getting your degree. (I think we all sort of knew that from the beginning, but refused to believe it).
For whatever unknown reason, I've been rather contemplative about my time college (ahem, "uni"). Being surrounded by people mostly your own age with rather similar life experiences isn't 'the real world.' The ability to go out on a week night to enjoy happy hour to it's fullest extent isn't the real world, either. I can't even find the energy to talk to other people after work during the week these days! It's pathetic. I used to be bounding with energy, with outgoing flare, with longer blonder hair and sun-kissed skin.
But things change.
And they always will.
Nothing lasts forever, not really.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to return the old stomping grounds of San Diego. I can imagine driving down interstate 8 and then highway 163, popping into Fashion Valley for some shopping in the gorgeous outdoor mall (littered with sunshine) then grabbing the hands-down best chicken salad sandwich from Boudin's and taking it to the beach.
Gone are the days in summer when I practically wore my swim suit as underwear and always had a beach towel in the trunk of my car because I just never knew whose pool I might be swimming in that day or if I'd end up on Garnet Ave in Pacific Beach for a taco, a beer, and some beach time.
|On Garnet. source|
Gone are the days of my Reef sandals worn with everything. (I'm pretty sure I didn't own a real pair of shoes while I lived in San Diego). I bought a new pair every year because I had worn them down to paper-like thinness.
I miss the San Diego Zoo and my annual pass so that I could visit it at a moment's notice. On bad days, I would go by myself and take in all the things that are bigger than me. On good days, I would go by myself and take in all the things are bigger than me with a different perspective. My favorite spot was on the bench facing the giraffe's. They are magnificent, marvelous creatures. On really good days, I would go with friends and we would laugh our way through the place.
The simple drive to the zoo on highway 163 (in the other direction from the mall) was enough loveliness for a day with it's dappled shade and pretty bridges.
I miss Balboa Park with all it's beauty. I could quite literally wake up and go smell the roses in the rose garden. I could bring sunscreen, a bottle of water, and a book and sit there for most of the day amongst the color, the aroma, the bees, the sun. I could look up from my book and see someone else appreciating the beauty of it, too. I could listen to the chit-chat, the fountains, the wind, nothing. I could go home to my cool tiled floor, open the sliding glass door of my old bedroom, flip on some music, and write my paper in the shade of the covered patio in my backyard before heading off to class in the welcome coolness of the evening.
|source - The Rose Gardens.|
If my life hadn't led me where I am today, I believe I would have ended up back in San Diego. But here's the catch: it wouldn't be the same San Diego that I knew. There are no more papers to write. There is no one to laugh with at the zoo or have a drink with at the beach. The people have all moved on and away. They are all somewhere else, doing something else. They were what mattered most and it wouldn't be the same without them.
My sweetest memories of San Diego? My final year, living in that house with the ever-cool tiled floor. Because in that house, friends came to visit often, and I began to walk the road that led me all the way to Bergen. When I lived in that house, I was preparing to move on and didn't even realize it. I met the man I was going to marry and all of his wonderful friends, and learned more about myself than I had ever anticipated knowing. I was in a perfect state of autonomy. Life was good.
Life is good now, too, but for reasons completely different that I can't quite explain yet (maybe because I don't understand). In time, I will. It's all part of this transition, part of this journey that I knew I would be experiencing...this trip From Freeways to Fjords.