Today, after weeks of bitter cold and full-time winter grey there is a bit of weather that could be best described as warmish. Nothing crazy to be sure, but for today at least the snow has turned into rain and maybe I won’t wear a scarf. I have errands to run, a nap might be in the cards, and I plan on snacking (a lot). This is what breaks are made off. The pace changes and to-do lists shorten. I guess you could call winter break a sort of hibernation but I find it’s closer to a meditation. A moment of pause where I get space to process the blur of last semester. I take this time to consider where I am, if I’m happy, and what direction I want to go next.
This winter break hasn’t been easy. As I linger in the space of halfway done with the program, I find myself confronted with many questions about why I’m here, what I’m making, and where I’m headed. Surely, much of this has to do with the moment in time in which we all find ourselves. The overwhelming stream of breaking news and the frequent political and environmental disasters aren’t exactly comforting. The world moves quickly, and I find it’s healthy to regularly reevaluate my place in it.
I’m sure many of you that are considering grad school or are preparing to submit your application are feeling much uncertainty. I don’t blame you. I felt it too. I still do. I don’t have grand advice that will provide you all the certainty in the world or a fancy 15 question quiz that will tell you “This is the right time.” Instead I offer you a quote that’s given me much solace recently by Rebecca Solnit from her amazing book “A Field Guide to Getting Lost.”
“For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.”
― Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
This break has once again taught me that everything is change. Each new and exciting chapter is not a destination to arrive at, but rather the constant between here and there. One unexpected side effect of being a student is that I’ve learned to ask better questions both of myself and the people around me. Most days, I think it’s the questions and not the answers that matter. I hope for those of you that are feeling stuck in uncertainty and anxious about what’s next, that you choose to act. To do something or ask something regardless of the uncertainty. Whatever the weather it’s the most perfect time to be lost. Trust me.