Después de Diploma

Although I don't write essays or spend hours highlights course readers anymore, I've still found myself in a mess of busy work since graduating in March. With so many changes in the coming months, I can hardly imagine entering the real world without the transition period I have allowed myself. I've actually morphed a bit into my parents' retirement routine, whether it be picking up a new hobby, catching up on reading, planning a trip, or simply enjoying breakfast on the patio. Let's just say I can't really complain.

During a flux of visiting relatives from Sweden I have tried to help my parents remodel our house while simultaneously preparing for a visit from other family friends, actual graduation, and a trip overseas. While I may not be graded on any of my work, I certainly still feel the pressure of keeping track of every assignment for the fear that I will wake up having forgotten a very important due date. And while I know most of you are pointing fingers at my #firstworldproblems, I'm sure we are all on the same page when it comes to the anxiety-fueled proposal of what to approach next. No matter how much I try to focus on such a small span of upcoming time and events, I feel like my future is a bad case of "June gloom" that I'm speeding straight into. And if one more person asks me if I plan on becoming an English teacher, I swear I will explode.

So in the midst of enjoying my temporary "retirement," I've found myself constantly sulking under the pressure of what I really want to do next. I'll be moving back to Santa Barbara this summer and I still can't decide whether I want to dive into editorial work or take the year off and get some extra "frivolous" experience under my belt. I essentially know what I want to do, it's just a matter of how I want to get there. Part of me wants to develop something great within the cities I love but there's also an itching reminder in the back of my head that the world truly is an oyster to our youth. I don't want to settle in just yet, but I also want to get a head start on the career I know will make me happy.

Alas, I've decided not to stress until the summer has actually begun. Meanwhile, in less than a month from today, I'm leaving for a Mediterranean tour with my mom through Malta, Italy, and Greece. It's a relatively quick trip for all those locations, but after the lingering inspiration I still have from Sweden and England last summer, I know the opportunity is going to offer even more critical insight into which feelings and instincts I should be trusting and exploring. Sometimes I give myself a head rush trying to figure out why going abroad works so many wonders on the soul, but I guess its simply the chance you receive to get in touch with the person you neglect within the comforts of home. It's easy to connect experiences with feelings and I certainly discovered some harbored emotions I know I could've only discovered during my time in another country. When I was photographing Stockholm or writing about London, I came across a passion that couldn't be accessed in Southern California. It was a connection to something greater than myself or the constrains of a domestic environment, and maybe that's why I am still apprehensive about settling down into the "real world" just yet...because that magic was too good to walk away from. I know the term "wanderlust" has been over-popularized by Tumblr addicts, but still there's an undeniable quality to the never-ending obsession with discovery and the helpless tendency towards thinking that the life of a wanderer can be forever satisfying.

However my more reasonable mindset also reminds me that we also tend to forget the loneliness in the context of that definition. While I crave the distance and excitement, I hate the inability to share that enjoyment and discoveries with those who I know would appreciate them the most. And when I'm home, that's when I realize that my journeys have given back to my own character in ways I thought were either trivial or insignificant at the time. There's a certain anticipation about those experiences that you can't wait to apply to the life you know is settled and expectant back home. When you're abroad you also begin to develop a longing for the time when you will return a more fulfilled person to the world you left with closed eyes. Here's to hoping that I find treasure in my upcoming cathartic adventures that will be just as meaningful as before...not that I honestly have any doubt that I won't.

Anyways, I try to fill my spare time knocking out reading lists and imagining how I will make my next Santa Barbara house a true home. (My "Mesa House" Pinterest board is getting a little out of control after finding a place just 3 neighbors and a picnic area from the beach.) And although I want to focus on appreciating the tourist-like surroundings of my next chapter, there are going to be a lot of changes to the way I live my life now, including the interactions I have and the goals I set for myself. This last year I've certainly felt the oncomings of maturity and the willingness to invest in experiences and objects that are worth supporting the future persona I anticipate. I have some of the closest friends in the world and a distant future that is not only obtainable but absolutely thrilling because of those people. Who cares how we get there, right? I like to think of it as becoming my own self-fulling prophecy. Time to get started.