The picture you see above was taken as my sister and I drove across the Freemont Bridge in Portland (the morning we got up ridiculously early to go to the REI Garage Sale). When I was in high school, we lived near this bridge and so it was one I used a lot to get home. I remember many late nights, driving across this bridge when it was so foggy that you couldn’t actually see the roadway in front of you. You just had to trust that the bridge was there and keep driving. I loved those nights, when it was dark and foggy, and the lights on the bridge would be winking through the thickness of the haze and you just had to trust.
These days I feel like my life is an awful lot like those nights driving across the Freemont Bridge, only there’s a bit more difficulty and slightly less trust. I’ve been struggling lately to figure out exactly where I am. I don’t mean in the physical sense, that much I know (right at this very minute I’m at my desk in the corner of the dining room. As soon as I get a new desk, I’ll be hanging out in the newly emptied den). I’ve never before found myself in such open and unstructured space before and while I like it, it’s also a little unsettling (mostly because I’m not earning enough money quite yet. I think I could live quite happily in the openness if there was a slightly more steady stream of income).
These days I spend my time blogging for Slashfood, trying to do some writing for Green Daily, answering email, dreaming up things to cook on Fork You (seriously, this takes up a HUGE amount of my mental space) and hanging out with Scott. And that’s about it (I really need to start adding ‘going to the gym’ into that equation).
I find myself thinking back to the days when I had to unhappily report to an office every day. I remember those hours of staring miserably into a computer, mechanically responding to inquiry emails or filling out spreadsheets of names and addresses and I wonder how it is that I didn’t leap off a building. The change in my level of personal joy is so marked that I will never regret the choices I’ve made.
But now, being done with school (it’s so weird to have the graduate student label removed from my identity list) and set adrift in the world of adult responsibility once more, I’m not exactly sure what to do next. I’m not super worried (there are some possibilities and I have friends who are looking out for me and keeping me in mind for stuff). More than anything, I’m just really curious to see what my life will look like six months from now. From where I’m standing, it’s fairly murky and unclear. However, I keep reminding myself of the nights on the bridge and I feel more okay.
Knowing you, I give it a solid six months until you go and add “PhD Candidate” to your identity list. 😉
Wow! You’re a Philadelphian, ex-Portlander musing about past times in PDX the way I used to muse about my time in PHL! I of course am in Portland, having lived in Philly from 1994-1998. I felt completely like a fish out of water then, but now I truly enjoy visiting. We flew back last summer for the Police concert, hung out in Manayunk, spent some time on the shore, ate shortis from the Wawa…
My office looks out over the Fremont bridge now, and I feel much more at home, though I can remember staring out across Broad St and the Schuylkill from the 15th floor like it was yesterday.
Eric, via 10Cakes.