I graduated. Now what?

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Oh, it has been a hell of a week.

Front to back, start to finish, it’s been a hell of a week. The past five or six days have already started to blur together. And despite the pretty huge capped and gown-ed personal landmark that occurred on Saturday, I still don’t know how I feel about everything. My thoughts and emotions are in a big tangle. I know that I should untangle them at some point, but when I find them in my path I just step right over. I might go through them and get everything straightened out eventually, or I might just pack them away and move on. I don’t feel particularly obligated at this point to do either.

I hope that this post even makes sense. It’s rainy, I’m sick, and I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in several days. This combination is the perfect recipe for serious brain fuzz. I’m hoping to remedy that with a lazy day and a lot of sleep tonight. I’ll probably still be stuck with this cold though.

Last Monday and Tuesday were my last days of school. They were both sort of the same: seven periods of not doing very much, followed by some sort of awards ceremony (seniors on Monday and band on Tuesday), then some weird graduation emotions. I’d spent all year waiting for the diploma at the end of the tunnel, but in the few days leading up to it I had a lot of “Geez, this is actually weird- do I even want to graduate?” type thoughts.

On Monday, I cried my way over a mountain of anxiety about life after high school. Ask the class of 2017 what we’re most excited about for next year and I can promise you one of the top answers will be “independence”. I’d give that answer too. But I also realized that independence is kind of terrifying. I was also pretty freaked out about not being able to see my favorite people on a daily basis anymore. I know I’ll make some new friends, but I’ve lived here pretty much my whole life. The change is going to be hard.

On Tuesday, I shed some tears about all of the high school band stuff coming to a close. Those were feelings I’d anticipated for a while, but actually muddling through them was weird. High school only lasted four years and so did my time with the band, but given the amount of personal growth and development I’ve experienced through that time, it feels like forever. I also did a lot of band. What I’m getting to here is that JHS band was my whole life. I wasn’t really upset about leaving all of the memories behind, just kind of feeling weird and naked. I’m going to be a music major. I know for a fact that I’ll have that same social circle/performance bond situation soon enough. It’s just the transition.

I had a pretty significant list of things I needed to get done on Wednesday and Thursday. At 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, my body said “screw that” and gave me a graduation gift of some of the worst abdominal pain I’d ever felt and a host of other random symptoms. I went to the ER, my tests came out fine, and they put a stop to the pain with some crazy IV stuff. It was awesome because it made my pain go from a 7-8 to a 0-1. It also might as well have been Nyquil. I was thoroughly knocked out by the time I got home.

I think it was a combination of the pain meds not having totally worn off and the remnants of all the weird stuff my body was doing that brought me there, but my level of functioning remained at “wet towel” through Thursday. Ryan came over and I fell asleep while he was there. My parents sarcastically told me I was an awesome date. He was a good sport.

Come Friday, I still wasn’t feeling good. I never have a good name for what’s going on when I’m sick. “Evolving symptom mishmash” is the best I can do. On Friday my appetite was all but gone, it was hard to breathe, and standing for more than a few minutes was really hard. This is where things really started to blur together.

I had a lot to do on Friday and Saturday. I practiced graduating on Friday morning and 24 hours later I did the real thing. I walked across the stage, took a picture, and sat back down. When it was still on the horizon, graduation seemed like it would be a huge, significant moment. I thought I would be crying/having some huge revelation about adulthood/growing a beard as a sign of sudden maturity/etc. None of those things happened. Maybe I just used up all of my emotions in the week leading up to it. I didn’t feel anything at the ceremony. Maybe I’m subconsciously repressing those feelings and at some point I’ll feel something. Maybe I just hyped it up to be a bigger deal than it really was.

I’ve got a diploma and I haven’t had to go to school in a week. That’s really all that has changed.

My favorite part of that day was absolutely my graduation party. I haven’t had a birthday party in years. I’ve hosted a couple of sousaphone section parties, but that’s different because people are just at my house. Those weren’t about me. This was. I was a little worried that no one would show up. More than a little actually, but I was pleasantly surprised. By about 6:30, my house was filled to the brim with my favorite people. It was a mixture of old friends, family members, and people who I saw pretty often but was still really excited to have over.

It was really weird to think that so many people liked me enough to come to my party. I generally spend more time in my own head than I do anywhere else. Because I get very wrapped up in everything bouncing around in there, I feel isolated most of the time. Being surrounded by all of those people made me realize that I am not actually isolated at all. I spent the entire night just being so grateful to have such people in my life, and as I went around and talked to everyone I felt even more so. I have such wonderful friends here.

I am trying not to think too hard about me not being here in a few months.

So… now what? I have plans for this summer. I’ve written down all kinds of things in my calendar book which I will be doing, but before I really do any of them I need to get rid of this brain fog. I sat for several minutes today trying to remember what I did over Christmas. I couldn’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday or the names of any of the Guardians of the Galaxy characters. I am still getting things done, but it is hard to do them. I don’t think my summer has really started. Is summer hibernation a thing? Maybe that would help.

Eh. I’ll figure it out.

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