on wednesday this week i finished my paper. it took nearly two weeks of daily thought-grind, a perpetually sore backside, and enough grit to force myself through the almost daily feeling that i was reinventing the wheel everytime i sat down to work on it. but thanks to two-and-a-half dozen cans of diet dr. pepper and, more importantly, the encouragement and support of good friends (especially seymour, who forced me to take the occasional break for sustenance and put up with my apparently maddeningly noncommittal progress reports), i managed.
and you know what? it made me happy. and excited. as hard as it was to articulate all the thoughts about the moonstone that had been whirling around my mind for the last three months, it felt good to make the connections and build an argument and say something interesting and, i think, important about community.
you may have surmised by now that i'm going back to school. but i made the decision before i finished the paper. a while ago now, actually. a decision that i did not want to make a decision based on what would make it easier to get through the day; that i wanted to do what brings me fulfillment and happiness, not what is second best. a decision that while i may not always be able to control feeling discouraged or lonely or occasionally depressed, i can control my reactions to it. a decision to take the gifts i think i've been given and make something of them--including this opportunity i have to earn this degree.
i was surprisingly at peace throughout the writing process, in spite of the stress i felt. so much so that a friend commented a week and a half ago that i looked happier and more at peace than i had for a long time. the last few days the world has felt like a beautiful place and my life has felt light and full of opportunity. maybe because for the first time in a long time, it felt like i could manage all of the aspects of my life. maybe because i surprised myself by writing the paper by my self-imposed deadline. maybe because i'm simply letting myself be.