You're not going to get the full effect I want you to get out of this blog post unless you read it in the dark. I'm serious. Turn off the lights wherever you are. Get somewhere dark. Close the windowshades. Block out the light with something solid if you have to. It needs to be dark when you read this, or you're not going to fully appreciate what I have to say.
Is it dark yet? I'm not even kidding about this. Turn off the lights.
It's 1:15 on a Saturday night. It's been a good day for me. I've moved into my new apartment about a week ago, and now that all of my roommates are finally here, we've been able to start putting things away. At long last, the apartment is starting to come together. Robert Poste and I have been working on our room particuarly, and it finally looks like an actual room. We also attended a friend's birthday/housewarming party tonight. I got to see some people that I haven't seen for a long time. Some of them lived right near me for the last several months, but I rarely saw them because I was purposefully shutting myself away from society. (In retrospect, this was a poor idea. I really shouldn't have sacrificed other social connections in favor of a relationship. Lesson learned.) I got to enjoy the company of others and the experience of flirting again, which I haven't done in a long time. Fear not, gentle readers who were at this particular party. Although I was probably flirting with you if you were female and at this party, rest assured that it wasn't necessarily because I feel particularly romantically attracted to you. It's just been a while. I needed the practice. (If you happen to feel a particular romantic attraction to me, though, feel free to shoot me an email and we can discuss particulars.) We all got home at about 10:30, at which point we went back to unpacking things. All told, it was a successful evening for me. I felt good about how I'd spent my day. After watching an epsiode of The Simpsons with Robert Poste, I reached for the light switch from the top of our bunk beds and we both settled down to go to sleep.
Suddenly - and I mean this very literally, since most people use "suddenly" as a generic transition - a wave of terror swept over me. This is something that doesn't happen very regularly to me, as I'm not given to panic attacks, so I took particular note of this.
My room is neatly tidied and organized, with a few exceptions. I have most of my books that I need for my classes (which start on Tuesday). My roommates are all back in town. From that standpoint, you'd think that I'm completely prepared for the new school year. You'd be correct to think so. What you're not considering, though, and what I didn't consider, is that I'm completely unprepared for this new shift in my social life. While the new room is nicely organized, it's still new, and that's what scares me. I've made a huge transition in my life - one that I didn't think I was going to make until next year, when I graduate and head off to take a teaching job somewhere. (That scares me too. More on that later, perhaps.) I think the neat new room nicely symbolizes what the prospects of this year feel like for me. Everything's ready to go, but it's not familiar to me at all. I'm in a new social situation with new people I'm not familiar with (nor am I particularly excited to become familiar with, but that's just my prejudices running away with me). All of the people that I got to know so well this last summer are, for the most part, out of my life, and perhaps to stay. I've recognized that they're all leaving me over the last few months, but it's really been driven home for me lately. Everything's starting anew for me.
I have a hard time believing that there are people out there who actually like change. I hate it. I really don't like jumping into new situations. I've been a lot better about it lately, at least on the surface, but to be perfectly honest, I'd much prefer it if things stayed the same for me. I know that's not the way to grow, but it's the easy way, and I would prefer things to be easy rather than to be growing opportunities. (What human being wouldn't?) I'm sure this will help me develop into a better person, and, perhaps more importantly, help prepare me for what my life will be like in a year when I move somewhere else (regrettably, likely alone) and jump into a whole new phase of my life.
The fact of the matter, though, is that it's intimidating and more than a little scary to me. The dark does that. Everything is scarier in the dark, no matter what anyone else tells you. It might be childish to say that I'm afraid of the dark, but I am. I'm always the least emotionally stable when it's dark out. That's why I insisted on writing (and you reading) this post in the dark, so it would feel the same to me. I won't feel like this in the morning. No one ever does. Worries and anxieties like this disappear with the rising of the sun. The lack of familiarity that I feel, though, won't. It's going to take time to adjust to this, and until I do, nights in my perfectly organized room are going to be scary.
Feel free to turn the lights back on now.