The appropriate first post is supposed to be one where I introduce myself.
My initial thought was a Miss America route:
Why yes I’m a Leo… I like sunsets and world peace…
I considered a cross between a diary and a checklist:
I’m sitting in an Ohio Starbucks, taking a much needed familial retreat since my current serving job at the Four Seasons Hotel does not allow holiday vacation during their busiest season.
Home state- check. Place of employment- check, still to check… age, height, weight, major, hair color…
Presumably you’re reading this however- because you think I have something remotely interesting to say- which for the record I find incredibly flattering. If it’s alright with you- maybe I will set formulaic introductions on a shelf somewhere, and go with a story.
All of the bloggers had their photograph taken for the LC website by the Office of Public Affairs Director of Photography, Marsha Miller.
I’m of the opinion that great photographers learn to develop a sensitivity to a person’s energy. When it’s time to capture an image, they look for ways to communicate this energy to perfect strangers. Martha was by my assessment, a great photographer for this reason. She was clearly reading me from the moment I walked into the room, and trying to translate that through her camera.
As she snapped pictures, she chatted about the things she noticed when photographing the other writers. She talked about Jelisa’s boundless youthful energy. She talked about the fashion sensibility of Ricardo, and Landon’s endearing southern drawl.
“YOU,” she said… “are so composed. Calm. Put together. Which makes sense because you’re a graduate student.”
Code: The Old One.
I left that photo shoot feeling special and also slightly befuddled:
What does this mean?
I suppose I thought I was immune to growing up, and felt a little broadsided to discover it had happened nonetheless.
Since that photo shoot I’ve been trying to embrace my “maturity” or whatever that means.
What does the UT experience look like from a 31 year old vantage point? The other night on the phone my friend Krista made the other night while reminiscing about our undergraduate days at Kent State.
“We thought we had it so hard back then didn’t we? We thought we were busy. We thought we were stressed. We thought we had problems.”
“Thought” being the operative word. I wonder what banal platitudes the 41 year old Rebecca is trying to shatter for my 31 year self ten years into our future.
I wish I could do this for the 21 year old Rebecca. I wish I could have told her that the meetings, deadlines, test cramming, and chasing accolades to land that prestigious job, would take a distant second to lounging in the middle of campus with a sketchbook. Second to inhaling the smell of books in the Fine Arts Library. Second to discussing art with friends over California Cab on a Friday night. Second to philosophizing with 20 diverse and intelligent women around a table in the 3rd floor of the Art Building.
The late Steve Jobs said in his commencement address to the 2005 Stanford graduating class:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back…”
The opportunity to attend UT, and the opportunity to write for imaginary readers, also feel like a once in lifetime opportunity to live life backwards. To live like a college student with the knowledge of a “grown up.”
Or whatever that means.
Which means this opportunity to live life backwards is nothing short of miraculous.
“For this reason, I’m telling myself being “old” is okay.
At least just this once.