I woke up this morning to an alarm that came too early. With heavy eyes I pulled my hair back and splashed my face with cold water, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. Reaching for the coffee in the morning had by now become an old habit. While the machine whirred behind me I peered out the open window, taking in the sights of the world waking up. The skies were grey and mist clung heavily to every branch of the tree outside my window. Taking a cue from Mother Nature I pulled on rain boots and a sweater before trudging to class.
I spend the morning thinking in another language and listening to pencils scratching on paper. I listen to my professor as I doodle in the margins of my textbook. While I’m grateful for my schooling, on Fridays it’s hard to pay attention. At least once a quarter I go through an existential crisis, asking myself the question, What am I doing here? But usually by week three it works itself out.
I rush home, ducking under trees for cover from the rain that doesn’t seem to be letting up. I open the front door to my apartment and am greeted by my roommate’s cat darting between my legs. Stomach grumbling, I bee line to the kitchen. My fridge is appears full but it’s with food that isn’t mine. I fish out a Tupperware full of leftover curry and heat it up in the microwave. My roommate is getting ready for her day, the clink of makeup brushes in a jar and acoustic music seep out from under her doorway.
Around noon I make my transition from college student to preschool teacher, hopping into my car and singling along to the radio as I cruise down I-5. I spend my days surrounded by children. Holding them when they’re upset and helping them navigate through this new thing called life. They call me “teacher”, give me countless hugs and tell me that they love me.
Once home I turn on some music and start making dinner. I start chopping up veggies and simmer soup on the stove. I sit on the couch and call my parents as the heat from the stove fogs up my windows. I spend the night doing homework by candlelight, not to be artsy but because my roommate and I are trying to save money on our electricity bill. Some nights I spend with friends, running around the city or getting Thai takeout and camping out on the couch. Some nights when I’m home doing laundry or writing checks for rent I feel the oldest I’ve ever been. Some nights when I’m sleeping on friends’ floors or crawling into bed at 5 am I feel the youngest I’ve ever been. It’s the balancing of two universes.
This is a snapshot of me 20.