It’s been awhile since I last thought about change. Maybe it doesn’t seem like it, because tbh the last time I blogged (a year ago), I probably wrote about change. But trust me, it’s been awhile.
I always assume that I do not like change, for essentially the same reasons that I don’t like playing basketball or solving physics problems or driving new places–I don’t like feeling uncertain. And in exactly none of those scenarios do I know exactly what I’m doing. Like, back in the day, I loved English class so much because I knew what to do to succeed: read something, think about it a little, and write something ~insightful~. And okay, it took effort to do those things, but almost none of that effort involved trying to figure out why I was doing those things. Doing well in English class was a part of doing well in school, which was a part of getting into college, which was just about as far ahead as I’d actively planned my life.
Last weekend, I moved to Santa Barbara for the summer. I’m working in a new lab, living in a new apartment, making new friends. And I know that in LA, my friends are hanging out with each other; my books are on a shelf in the bedroom I’m currently not using in the apartment I’m not going to live in again until September; my lab is doing cool stuff that I’m going to have to learn about in the fall because I’m not there right now. Basically, the world goes on whether I’m there or not–shocking, I know. It’s one of those things I’m reminded of every summer, when I go home and see my friends’ Snapchat stories (now Instagram stories, ‘cause times have changed) fill up with clips of each other, snippets of memories I didn’t get to make. And this summer, I’m really feeling that FOMO, because it feels like I’m going through freshman orientation all over again–trying to remember people’s names and majors and hometowns, getting lost on campus, figuring out how to use the equipment in my lab without breaking it. It’s all new; it’s all uncertain. And there’s this really shallow part of me that’s wondering how worthwhile it is to get to know the other interns here when really, in nine weeks, we’re all going to scatter back across the US, just as far apart as we were before.
But then again, there’s the way that it feels to go outside late at night here–the way the cold air bites just a little, the way the almost-black sky is studded with stars, the way the almost-black ocean rolls away from the shore; the way it feels to be so, so very small. In the face of that kind of vastness, all I can think of is just how tiny my existence is. And while size and significance are not the same thing, it makes change a matter of perspective–the smallest of shifts in the briefest of paths. As Hallmark as it sounds, this is the present; this is brief and beautiful and happening, and while uncertainty is real, I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay not to have it all together all the time. And while this is something that I already knew, it’s also something that I’m going to keep telling myself over and over and over again, because honestly, change is coming and will continue to come for pretty much forever, however long that might really be.