All things come to a beginning

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Beginning a-old

I've been working at my home university, mostly helping people make their way through the fairly complex registration process. A minority of students come in for a quick five minutes, routinely clicking their re-registration for their third, fourth, fifth year of school into existence. But for most, it is a bigger deal. Wide-eyed first year students, often accompanied by their parents, grandparents and siblings (I think the record was a group of 6...seriously. I understand your sense of pride, but for the love of God calm down) or exchange students, on their first day in Belgium. All taking a big step forward, beginning a new chapter in their lives. Some slightly frightened and taken aback, others with a firm sense of entitlement.

It seems like ages ago when I was in their shoes - but really, at this age, pretty much every year is still a "new beginning". Deciding to do another year, another degree. Angling for that first job. And then getting it. Getting over losing that first job and moving right into a new one. Moving into a new appartment or even a house, down the street, or in another continent. Few of my friends' lives could be described as "steady" right around now. A bunch of them are about to start glorious new adventures abroad: Adrian's on his way to Paris, Jen just got to Leuven, I-Wen sent me her first batch of Taiwan pictures, Chloe's about to leave for England, Lies is in Stockholm, Anna's been loving Amsterdam...They're loving every minute of it, as they should, and there are few things more endearing and energising than their gushing, their giggles and their sparkly eyes.

I'm sticking to the home turf for now. And I'm glad. As satisfying as traveling is, it also takes an emotional toll on you. Every new beginning comes with having to amp yourself up, sell yourself, find your way, get comfortable (but not too much), doubt the choices you've made, make plans, make new plans. And there's no shame in taking a break from that. So right now I'm happy to spend downtime with people. To work my old job, hang out with my old friends watching old movies, walk down the same old streets. Yup, old is sounding pretty good these days.


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