Today is the first day of the spring semester. It feels weird being surrounded by all these college students who are either excited about or dreading the new semester. I walk with them, but I’m not really a part of the group. After my graduation ceremony, it felt like everything had changed, but now I realize, everything is the same except me. Somehow, the town seems smaller. The things that used to excite me seem childish now. On graduation day, I felt like I was standing at on a great, big ship headed towards whatever was beyond the horizon, but now I find my ship still tethered to the familiar harbor that is college.
I think that’s why I’ve been feeling sad the last few weeks. For four and a half years, I steadily worked towards achieving one goal, and even though I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do after graduation, I knew that it would be something spectacular. Yet here I am still in the same place. I find myself in limbo, waiting on someone else’s opinion of my writing to decide what my next step is. I have no major goal I’m building towards at the moment, no reassuring syllabus laying out the road for the semester, and no real plans for the next few months.
In the past, I have not dealt with such gaps well. The day I got my O’ Level results, my dad said he was happy that I was finally going back to school because I was a miserable soul when I wasn’t in school. Six weeks after finishing high school, I went running back to piano lessons in search of a semblance of familiar routine. But this time, I think I’m going to embrace this feeling of being in-between. I’m going to do all the fun stuff that I never had time to do when I was busy writing papers. I’m going to take afternoon naps and not feel guilty about it. I’m going to get up at three in the morning to watch cricket matches in South Africa because I don’t have to go to class. But most importantly. I’m going to write, write and write. And when I’m done, I’m going to write some more. When next am I going to have so much time on my hands?
They say depression is normal after achieving a big goal. Athletes feel depressed after the Olympics or a World Cup as they come down from the high of competing, whether they win or not, because there is suddenly an emptiness in their life where a long-term goal used to be. Pensioners feel sad when they go into retirement. I’m sure even Beyoncé feels a little sad at the end of a long tour. Tired, relieved and excited about the next step, but still there is a little sadness at saying goodbye to something that occupied your life for so long. You return to your old life, but nothing is the same. Then you move on, get yourself some new goals and life continues