Tassels Transferred + An Update

I’m still kinda in denial.
Graduation was basically a week ago, but somehow I can’t get over the fact that I won’t be waking up at 7:30 every morning next year… In my house, with my parents and siblings…
With no one telling me what to do when, who to see when, when to go to sleep and when to wake up….
Walking across the stage was surreal… But perhaps the craziest part that will remain vivid in my mind forever was when we first filed in the gymnasium. We were in alphabetical order, and I was, as always, at the end of the line to go in. But when the back end of us finally entered in the doors, we were met with thunderous, standing applause from every wall of bleachers… It was so powerful, to look around and see all of these people who have basically built us to be who we are now clapping and cheering, exclaiming their pride on two feet with vigorous applause, seeming to say “we’re so proud of you, this is your moment, you made it, congratulations, it’s all gonna change soon but we’re gonna be here, cheering you on”. It made me choke up, not gonna lie.
And the air conditioner didn’t die! For once… And I didn’t mess up my senior solo, and I didn’t trip walking up to the stage or back from it….
Afterwards my family and I went to one of my favorite small restaurant spots with awesome Mediterranean cuisine, and my mom tried to buy me a drink, asking the waitress “how old do you have to be to drink?” Which made me laugh because she grew up with the drinking age as 18 instead of today’s age, 21. And me, being 19, didn’t get a drink that day.
And so here I am.
I’m a teenager in limbo. Not a student, not a full fledged adult (I mean, I’m 19, technically an adult.. But then adults don’t blow off their taxes for 9 months and quit their jobs to go on vacation…or do they?)
Speaking of quitting work… My family is gonna go to the beach this Saturday, with my widowed grandmother. It’ll be the last normal family vacation for a whiiiiile, but my boss would flip his little bipolar lid if he lost me for two weeks. But it’s okay, because I was kinda done with the drama at the place I worked anyways.. Who knew a mini soap opera could exist within a family-owned Italian restaurant…
I write now in the middle of no-where Maryland, from  the house of my grandmother sandwiched in between a creek and a river. My mom planned to visit her mom for two reasons– 1) to just provide some company for her since she’s a little lonely, and 2) to coax her into actually coming to the beach with us this is weekend.
She used to go with her husband in September, after the intense tourism waves, in a more low-key part of Delaware. But ever since her husband passed away, she says she hasn’t really been able to wrap her mind about going back. And I don’t blame her– it must be so hard to go back to a place that you used to visit with the love of your life by your side for 50 years or so straight…
But she has made comments about being half way willing recently, and my mom is using these two days to connect with her and help tip the scale.
And my siblings and I are just along for the ride. I appreciate getting away from everything for a bit– it’s peaceful here, and I spent many hours (for the first time in a while) outside fishing! I feel kind of fuzzy and big sisterly for the first time in a while too, as I taught Boo how to cast off with a fishing pole for the first time, on the same ground where I learned from my uncle. So there’s that.
Despite the peaceful atmosphere and the big sister vibe however.. I scrambled this morning to register for my fall classes… And boy did my upcoming college adventure hit me hard.. I had to sit down and plan all my classes out on paper and do the best I could to choose my classes via the website ON MY PHONE because I did not have a computer. That kind of sucked… But it made me think so hard about the year ahead, and further texting sprees with my awesome room mate made it all so real to me–the fact that I’ll be moved out of my home at the end of August, 3 hours away with a(n amazing) girl I’m just now getting to really know, and that  for once I’ll be embarking on a personalized educational journey of mostly my creation… It’s just a bit overwhelming at times. In a good way.
But when it all became too much and I wanted to throw my phone at the wall for the lack of service and battery power, I just had to stop and go outside, and I helped a lot. Being out here watching an amazing sunset was just all around healing.
Annnnnd here are some shots I got from today!

 

 

I’ve got one more day here, then last day at work on Wednesday, and then I pack for the beach, get stabbed with immunizations, attempt to watch Finding Dory in theatres before I don’t see J for a month…
And then I’ll be going down for orientation soon.
It’s crazy how fast the time flies and will fly…
And all I can do is attempt to reel it back in as slowly as I can.
xoxo,
Steph

On Life, The Present, and Stuff

…And this is why I can’t do blog challenges XD

I lack persistence! And just… stuff gets in the way. *sigh*

Well

It’s been a while… and I am continually surprised at how quickly things change. Too quickly, it seems…

I think one thing that brings me to the computer tonight is the very recent death of a classmate of mine.

Just now a freshman at UVA and 18 years old, he was destined for success. Recipient of both academic and swimming accolades, he was very intelligent and loved by his friends.  He sat two seats away from me in AB Calculus last year, and also dated one of my close friends.

I learned last night that he died in his sleep due to a seizure.

Though I was not close with him, my friend was, and all she could seem to do was replay the last not-so-nice parts of their relationship in her head and wish that she had let him know she meant none of it.  She wondered if he felt sad, that he would never go to college, never marry, never have children.
I felt her sadness.
She told me she attended church last night and one of her close family friends who she ran into by chance asked her what she was doing there and at that, she broke down. She told me she and her family friend ended up praying together and that somehow she knew, the guy would be all right. “He’s getting a front row seat to Jesus’ birthday party,” she told me on our way to work today. I agreed, saying that heaven had indeed gained another angel.

But her thoughts lingered in my thoughts.  I got to thinking about life and death, the before and after.  Can the dead feel disappointment? Do the good that do die young feel sadness that they are no longer with their mortal lives and loved ones? Do the departed get a chance at a holier, even better life with the Big Man Upstairs?

When I was younger I was fascinated with stories that proclaimed people had seen heaven. It’s a mysterious place, and, depending on one’s religion, it’s sometimes hard to buy into.

There are times when I wish I had an answer– What exactly is there after death? Why even do the good die young? Better yet, why must the young die?

What ever the answers to those questions, I do know one thing. Sometimes, we get caught up in the “stuff”. The things, the bling, the clothing, the work, the time.  I am… probably the biggest hypocrite and probably shouldn’t be preaching this…. but I’m serious.
I want to slow things down, make the connections that are important.
With family.
With friends.
With strangers, even.
Because sometimes, all to fast, it’s gone. And with my classmate, it wasn’t his fault at all– it’s unfair that he passed. Completely. But it just goes to show how fragile life is, and how we shouldn’t trade, sell, or pass up any moment for anything.

This holiday season, do something for me. Love a little greater, laugh a little harder, thank-you a little genuine-er…  I can bet you I’ll be doing the same. ❤