I fell asleep at 10:30 this evening, exhausted and under the weather and looking forward to a restful night’s reset.
It is now 1:30, and I am wide awake.
When I toss and turn, I encounter the usual suspects: the voice whispering “you’re going to be awake forever,” the never-ending lists of unfinished tasks, astral projections of old boyfriends, transcripts of every conversation I should have had but never did. You know, lullabies.
In addition to the main cast, tonight’s insomniatic musings featured new, time-sensitive flavors: all the possible ways furniture can fit into the apartment I’ll soon move into, which items I can’t forget to put on (and eventually cross off) my BU Bucket List, whether four years without math will hurt me.
Those are just the immediate concerns, of course; if I don’t rein myself in right away, I spiral off into very dangerous territory. Like babysitter horror movies, I imagine a call from an unknown number—but instead of revealing in a chilly voice that they’re calling from inside my house, they’ll just say “this is your last year of college.”
These joys aren’t just reserved for the hours I should be sleeping; such revelations come at all times of day. When I get dressed, my large piles of scarlet and white remind me that my days of free shirts are numbered. My joy at empty roads, now that all the children are back in school, quickly dissipates when I remember that this is probably my last summer vacation. As my baby brother enumerates all the high school graduation cords he can earn, I realize that in a few months, I’ll be donning a cap and gown again. And as always, the pièce de résistance comes when a very simple money question for my mother culminates in terror-induced ugly crying over the sudden urgency for a LinkedIn profile.
I’ve never really suffered from a Peter Pan complex. Growing up was always a means to an end, and that end was college. In my head, my future was full of ivy-covered towers and cobblestone pathways and long hours in ancient libraries spent perusing large volumes of 19th-century poetry. Things like hockey and budgeting for $7 frozen pizzas and speed-jaywalking never even occurred to me, but those are infinitely more realistic (and valuable?) than the scenes in a Yale viewbook. High school me had no idea what college was really like—she just knew she was meant to be there.
And on that, we agree. My time at BU, which seems to have passed with alarming speed, is the stuff of feel-good memoirs. I know people who vehemently believe it’s only downhill after graduation, and while I wholeheartedly disagree, I do understand where they’re coming from. I became who I am on Comm Ave; how am I supposed to thrive anywhere else?
My bedroom in Georgia shares a wall with my brother, and every so often sounds escape from his man-cave into the Living Shrine to High School Rhiannon that I sleep (or, try to sleep) in. Tonight, he was practicing for his One-Act callback, singing over and over a few bars from the musical “Fame.”
They go like this:
“Bring on tomorrow, let it come
let them know that we’re there,
let them know we know where
we’re coming from.
We can make a difference,
it’s not too late.
Bring on tomorrow, I can’t wait!”
I can dig it, even though I stop just shy of excitement for the future, sandwiched somewhere between “terror” and “denial.” But I do know where I’m coming from, and I remember being so ready to flee from it three years ago.
A coworker of mine grew up in an even smaller town than I did, and jokes that her classmates wore tennis shoes to their high school graduation, so they could take off immediately after receiving their diplomas. I recognize that that’s fairly healthy, but I don’t feel that way now.
I have to remind myself (often in mantra form, when Samuel L. Jackson’s recitations don’t escort me into Dreamland) that I have at least nine months until I need to feel ready—and that even if I don’t, life is going to go on.
But that is quite a few tomorrows away, and even longer if I never fall back asleep, so go ahead, Universe. Bring it.