S A R I S H A K U R U P
It's one of those days that's so gray and beautiful, small scatters of rain dampening the sidewalks and slipping through the gutter, creating a constant symphony outside the water-flecked windows. I sat in the drivers seat of a car for the first time today, and it was scary and empowering at the same time. I caught myself going faster than I was supposed to and I guess I finally get it a little bit, the whole attraction to speed and fast cars. There's something exhilarating about being able to move at such an inhuman speed, watching everything flash by so fast, all because of a light press of a peddle. I never wanted to drive because I always thought it took away the experience of feeling the earth beneath your feet, of interacting with the buildings and the people and the trees. But it's not what I thought it was. It's something else entirely, a new way of experiencing this piece of the world I know so well.
As all my friends receive their college decisions, experience that fresh, new excitement about the future, I can't help contemplating all of the alternate courses my life could have taken. Having gotten into school early decision, the months since December have been both a relief and a dampening. Suddenly, I am seized with a fear that I have made the wrong choice.
I know, somewhere internally, that I will be happy no matter what. I have a remarkable capability, I think, for being able to adjust. I also know that the school I chose enchanted me from the moment I found it, and that i am certain as you can possibly be that I will be challenged and excited there for the next four years. But I also don't think there's such a thing as a "right decision," in these instances. Because there's no way to know what the alternative reality might look like. Lately the "what ifs" have flooded my head with more potency than ever, and I am reminded that now I make choices that affect the entire course of my future. It's not like my choices didn't matter before, but somehow, at 18, the threshold to adulthood, they seem to matter so much more.
As a writer, I constantly get to create things and then take them away. If I don't like the course a character's life has taken, there's an eraser, or a backspace, or an entire new sheet of paper. I conduct an orchestra in which I play every instrument, total control from beginning to end. It is often hard to remember that that is not reality, and that in my own story, I have very little control, and that in the choices I do have control over, the outcomes are still out of my grasp. It's a little sad--more than a little ironic--that in the story that matters most to me, I am at the whim of some other author, or perhaps no one at all.
College was always an important milestone. In many ways I was raised, groomed, for the moment that I applied to college. It's hard to grasp the idea that after 18 years, it's happened. That all the work and planning and late nights has finally led to this. Were this a traditional story, I'd feel a sense of certainty, some pacifying feeling of comfort that I am going where I belong. But no one belongs anywhere, really, and certainty is so elusive in reality. Sometimes I find that thrilling, sometimes it terrifies me.
My dear friend Maya, and one of the best writers I know. We learned to write together in so many ways, and she is a reminder to me that there or some things that don't need rewriting.