Summer, Sunshine, and Perpetual Self-Discovery

Well, I graduated. What a load off my back (and mind) that is.

My college career came to an end on May 10, 2019, assuming I don’t go for a graduate degree. The very idea turns my stomach, but I did find out that Masters degrees in creative writing are real, so who knows what the future holds.

My degree title is as follows:

Bachelor of Arts, University Without Walls, Journalism and Writing Studies

Yeah- *fist in the air, à la John Bender, minus the long coat because it’s too hot out for that*

Now, if I could just receive that stupid piece of paper in the mail.

My advisor confirmed that I graduated. My grades and degree completion checklist told me that I graduated. But the “3-4 weeks” that it would take to receive my diploma have passed. I can’t help feeling a little afraid, like it was all a joke or a lie.

I want to hang it in a smart, classy frame and stare at it while I pay back the loans I owe so that I can be reminded of why I did this in the first place.

Back when I first contemplated giving college another go, I had a lot of worries to sort through, but where I always ended up was, if I had already started, instead of continued to worry, I could be like a year into it by then.

So, finally, I decided to do it. And three years later, here I am. Done.

It’s pretty surreal.

At first, I was like, I have all my free time back! I can do what I want! I can write! I can read! I can travel!

But you know what? For this last month, I mostly just binged on Netflix. I did a little reading (finished The Great Gatsby; started Lolita) and a little traveling (bookstores; beach) and a little creative thinking (random stuff). But mostly, I was a total bum.

And it was fantastic!

Eventually, instead of being annoyed with myself for not being more creatively productive, I embraced the bumminess and let myself ENJOY it! I realized that I needed time to detach from thinking like a part-time student. I needed to get to know myself again, who I am without “student” as a descriptor.

At this point, the Netflix binge has ended, thankfully. There’s been an uptick in social media activity though. I would like to quash that, but I’m also getting into the mindset of using it for creative purposes, so I’m putting a pin in that one. Happy to report, however, that I’ve been reading more. Still on Lolita, which is an entirely different topic, but I bought a bunch of new books and am very excited to get into them!

Here’s to summer, sunshine, and perpetual self-discovery! 🍹☀️

I used to be the queen of used book sales.

I’m sure there are folks who frequent them much more than I ever did, but, in my social circle, it was something I was known for. I was good-naturedly teased because of it.

If there was a book sale in my general area, I knew about it and was probably going to it. I would schedule time in my day, like an entire morning or afternoon, and, upon arrival, latte in hand, I would strategize based on the setup of the sale and genres. I sometimes brought friends with me too. And in the end, I’d come out with a bag or two full of tomes on travel, cooking, geography, history, poetry, and, of course, lots of fiction, both more modern and classic. Book shopping was my favorite. If I saw a book section at a yard sale, a discount store, or a thrift store, I would have to peruse it and see if anything piqued my interest. Most of the time, I would find something to take home. And I felt that I balanced out all the purchasing by selling and donating what I could stand to part with post-reading. It was heaven.

A few years ago though, my desire to go slowed down until it dropped off altogether. I started noticing just how full my large  bookcase was and how I was having to double stack my collection. I could hear my mother’s words, “You have enough/too many books.” I hung my head when I saw what she saw. I do have enough/too many books. So, I stopped going to sales and stores. The good stuff was always gone at the “early bird” days anyway. And they didn’t generally have a whole lot of variety, what with about 20 copies of The Help and The Notebook, hoping to be snagged by the last 2% of the population who didn’t already own them. (Truly, no offense to those books, their authors, or their fans. Just trying to make a point.) My mind kept going back to where I could possibly store any more. In fact, a couple of months ago, when I cleaned out my closet, I found two shopping bags of books that I had FORGOTTEN ABOUT for at least a year. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

Nowadays, I still go to used book stores, but a lot less frequently. Maybe once a year I allow myself to indulge in my version of retail therapy, and you know what? It’s quite satisfying. Going less often makes the trip and experience that much more special. I see much more variety in the selection, and I get to check in with the building. To me, it’s a wise old man with little glasses, keeping watch over all the wisdom and knowledge. And shockingly, I don’t haul a giant bag of loot out to my car like Santa Clause going down the chimney on Christmas night.

One day, when I have more space, like an entire room to consider as a library and writing room, I’ll go crazy again. But until then, I will have to keep it simple.