Siren’s Call

If you’re looking for some background music, click¬†here.

Recently I’ve been having those days where it’s too tempting to do nothing. I’m usually no nonsense when it comes to getting to the gym, but I think the weather turning cold again as well as my studies becoming more intense has made me feel lethargic. But I got my butt off the couch and to the gym, and I found that everything was thought-provoking.

I crossed the bridge, the one I’ve crossed one hundred times on my trek to Eppley. The one that plays with the familiarity of home, because it looks just like the one in Middletown Park. I kept my eyes to the horizon, searching for the perfect moment, another beautiful shot that’s never quite the same as seeing it with your own eyes, feeling that wonder take hold of your heart.

Even my HIIT class itself made me feel lighthearted. I need to learn to smile more. I’ll add it to my mental list.

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On my walk home, the sun glows behind me, against me, warming my skin as if the whole world has always been trying to make me smile and I’ve just been too oblivious to notice. I cross that familiar bridge and I’m shocked to finally notice the stark contrast between the trees and the concrete. I wonder if I’ll ever find beauty in a place like College Park, so wrought with cement and brick, an unfinished game of Tetris.

I think we must be a foolish species, to think we can improve nature. Try as we might, we all know of a building that has been made more beautiful because a vine wound its way up a wall. I think of the little weeds that somehow break through cracks in the sidewalk, how persistent they must be. Maybe I should add that to the list too. Be persistent – I can do anything.

I cross the other, boring bridge that leads me to my complex and reminds me of nothing and no one. I decide to make my way to the small river under it. I haven’t done this before, but I’m curious.

After shaking off the embarrassing feeling of people watching me, I am surprised by my own awe. The river listens to the wind as it whispers its delight, having chased all the clouds from the sky again today. I spot some fish in the river, just floating, sharing this calm moment with me and the river and the wind. Of course¬†Pocahontas pops into my head. The color of the wind must be blue, as that’s the only color in the sky today. Or maybe it’s also green as it runs through the grass, plays through the trees. Maybe brown as it playfully unravels my hair. I guess the wind could be any color. It must be fun.

As I said, my studies are becoming more pressing. If I wasn’t so close to graduating, I think I might just drop out, work part-time, and do whatever I want with my days. I’m keeping my eyes on the summer. I have big plans. So I stand, parting with my wonder, and I climb my way back to reality with a new understanding of why sailors are drawn to sirens.

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A Hum and a Howl

Having this blog has already helped inspire me. I walk around campus looking for the next mediocre photo I can post to the page, something that captures a new side of this place that I haven’t seen, haven’t been looking for.

The dryer hums and rattles behind me, my feet are cool – I wore sandals today in hopes of warm weather. Instead I was greeted with a cold wind that whipped right through my sweatshirt. I guess that’s how being here has made me feel so far.

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I expected Maryland to be the reparation for the disappointing college career I’ve had. Sometimes I feel there’s a lot of pressure for me to be happy here, “is it everything you dreamed it would be?” Well, no. I dreamed it would be a great place to meet people, grow and prosper, and explore new things. Instead I find it’s much easier than usual to slip into the sea of people here and go about my day unnoticed. This is the first time in my life that my professors haven’t known my name. I’ve always been shy, and I guess this is where I learn to introduce myself and branch out. Finally forced out of my comfort zone, unlike the terrapin that has come to represent this place, who has all the comforts of home on his back.

But I think I need this. If I never leave my shell, I’ll be stuck. Stuck in the same old town with the same old people in the same old job with the same old problems. I’ve done a lot of soul searching recently, yet I haven’t made any breakthroughs. If anything, my searching has left me even more lost. Where do I go? What will make me happy?

What will make me happy while taking me out of my comfort zone?

I cling to familiarity. There is comfort in familiarity, a sense of calm. But no matter how far my branches stretch, the roots still remain, clinging to the same old soil.

I love my little Middletown. It’s nice to look up and see mountains and a blue sky instead of just brick buildings. There will always be a connection there, but I’m caught between hanging on and letting go. Maybe it doesn’t have to be an ultimatum, but that’s how it feels right now. I fear I will return and never again leave, never branch out and live elsewhere. There are too many places to experience, too many people to meet.

Yet I also fear what it would mean to leave. I would be away from family, from close friendships, from everything I’ve ever known. For the third time in my life, I would be alone in a new place, left to my own devices to figure out where to go.

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As I write this, I realize that’s what I need in my life. It’s not like leaving someone behind means letting go of them forever, that the gate will be shut, the bridge will be drawn, and I am left to sink or swim with the crocodiles. Starting somewhere new opens up a whole new storybook for you to fill, and it’s your duty to take the pen and start writing yourself a beautiful, adventurous story.

There’s comfort in familiarity. There’s opportunity in the unknown.