When I was in third grade I learned about different cultures. I learned that the Japenese folded paper with printed patterns into little animals, and that they sat on the floor, shoes aside, when they ate together. This seemed profound to me.
When I was 14 I learned that I hated competition--even worse, the urgent pressure of it. I froze on soccer fields, after ten years of loving them, completely paralyzed by the voices calling to me. "Why don't you do anything?" coaches would ask. I didn't know.
When I was 17 I learned about coffee that tasted so good I didn't need to put milk and sugar in it. I learned that people lived in cities surrounded by mountains--this was casually their home, it was normal, but not taken for granted. What a beautiful, simple life I thought.
When I was 18 I learned about Chicago. It was underrated with its marvelous views, and sprawled with people who were shackled in poverty and circumstance. I learned about the art of improvisational comedy--an actual skill people pursue for a living. It was as beautiful as paintings and sculptures and great music, but with the added bonus of making you laugh until you threw your back out. I fell in love with the smells of the city and the possibility of change for those shackled people. I fell deeply in love with laughing that hard.
When I was 19 I learned how hard I could push my brain organizationally and stuffed the rest of my undergrad career into a year of donuts and reading and philosophy assignments. I learned that I was great at executing plans, but that if given future chances, I would probably not stuff anymore chapters of my life into bags. Even in the face of confusion, there was still plenty to fall in love with.
When I was 20 I learned about learning in a different sort of way and became a wife. When I was 20 I also learned about addiction and its presence in my family and the great oceans of influence it has on every single human alive on this planet. Influence that is forceful and knocks down towns and takes away lives and people's freedom to make their own choices. I continued to learn about addiction when I was 21 and 22 and 23. I will always learn about it. Today I learn about its fruit, and about the shadow of fear that bears no importance when there is grace and years to keep learning.
When I was 21 it was more common that it was us learning, not just my own self, which was beautiful and stunning even when very very hard. We learned about making money and spending most of it on rent and the rest of it however we wanted. We learned about flat tires and which of us gets more nervous about driving around with little gas and how quickly your christmas tree will die if you don't water it.
When I was 22 I learned about photoshop and crappy small business owners and how discontentment is an illness derived of poor self-care.
When I was 23 I learned that you might get rejected more times than you expected from schools that you equate with your dreams and you will still somehow be standing at the end of it. When I was 23 I learned how it would feel to lose a grandma and see a parent lose their parent and a husband lose their wife and yourself grasp for memories so to not lose them too.
The waves of this educational life seem to be getting louder and louder, and much more close together. Whether I am hiding out from the sun, or standing at the water's edge waiting for them to come, they find me, and they rise up, and they crash down. In my 24th year I have already begun learning about saving money, ending seasons, drifting out of friendships, and strengthening others. I don't even know what sort of Tsunami we're in for in the coming year, and I don't know if I'll write about it here. I might, but I might be lost at sea. Good or bad, I'm going to let myself experience instead of name it. I promised my mom I would.
I hope that when I'm 24 I'll learn how to move away from my family and have them fully convinced how much I love everything about them. I hope they will know that it is much harder for me to leave them than I am letting on but of course this is the only way I can do such a thing. I hope I will learn how to truly know my independent self and let myself off the hook for all the times it seems like I should be less homesick. I hope I will learn so much about supporting my greatest love in pursuing his dreams. I hope I will learn to be okay with telling people that while I have my own dreams, supporting him is one of my own dreams too. I hope I will learn to grow alongside friends who are doing their own growing, and that I will be generally less fearful--not out of knowledge but of faith. Finally, I hope to learn of many different views of the water and peaks in the state of California.