And then I moved to Arizona.
And I met some of the most amazing people. And I lived with someone who would become my very best friend. And I skipped class and slept in and fell in love and got my heart broken into a million pieces and I cried and I prayed and I laughed and I never slept and somewhere along the way, I was twenty-two years old and a week and a half away from graduation.
I don't have any regrets. Well, that's not exactly true. I have very few regrets. I regret that I spent so much time loving someone who didn't love or respect me. I regret that I was unkind to several people when I was living in Dijon. And I regret that I wanted all of this to end so soon.
If I could do it over again, I would have gone to class more and studied harder, at least in my first two years. I would have laughed more. I would have traveled more. I would have spent more time outside. I would have spent less time caring about what people thought about me and more time caring about who I really was. I would have spent a year in France, though I probably wouldn't have made it out alive. I would have lived with Mariam all four years, because if it ain't broke, why would I bother trying to fix it? I would have taken more dance classes, even if they make my transcript look weak. I would have spent more time singing. I would have learned to say "no" much earlier.
But in the end, I'm glad the only time I ever spent in the SRC was that one morning that I tried to train on the elliptical and ending up throwing up in the Best C5 shower; working out wouldn't have helped my Chick-fil-A and Starbucks addictions. I'm glad I ran away to France to escape somewhere that was too full of memories I didn't want to keep. I'm glad that I adopted a wild dog who makes it nearly impossible for me to find a cheap apartment. And even though I would have loved studying English or music or French or theatre, I'm glad I picked something that made me pull all-nighters and go into stress comas; I'm glad that the people who love me most never let me underestimate myself.
For now, graduating feels like bungee jumping. I'm not sure that the rope can hold my weight. I'm scared I won't find a job. I'm even more terrified that I'll have to take a job that I hate. I'm worried I'll have to move home.
I'm worried that I'll fail...
...which is funny coming from a girl who failed BIO 202 and went on to graduate from nursing school.
I've failed and I've made mistakes and I've done things that embarrass me. But the most important thing I learned was how to get back up and fight it out. And I am so proud of that. I'm glad I learned how to fail and how to fight.
Graduation? Unemployment? Possible failure and humiliation? Sure, bring it on.
P.S. Mom, you were right. I shouldn't have given away my pink beach cruiser. How come you know everything?