Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

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It's been a long time since I've been able to, or wanted, to really write here. Over and over, I have written pages of paragraphs, thinking I'd said what I wanted to say, only to find them shallow and empty, only to erase it all at the end - thoughts lost.

Tonight, as I sit here in the dark, listening to the final soundtrack of a movie watched alone, I finally feel myself emerging. The last month has held so much for me - it seems every few days I learn something new of my mind and heart. And while, I have not come to anything profound or actionable, I have come in this moment, to a different understanding and acceptance of myself.

I spent most of the day sweating alongside some 25 people, none of whom I'd ever met before. For seven hours I raked, chiseled, dug and carried buckets of soil. By the end of the day, we'd made significant steps to linking a new section of the Mountains to the Sea Trail in the Eno River State Park. When I went home, my boots and jeans were heavy with the ochre clay of North Carolina subsoil, my back and legs sore with the unfamiliar strain. At some point in the day, when exhaustion had set in and we were carrying our tools back to the parking lot, in between the moment when we stopped on a bluff and let the glare of the sun on the silty Eno River blind us, and when we sat for long minutes under a tangle of bare tree branches, I realized that I was probably a third of the way through my life and that whatever I wanted to do with it, I had better get to it.

A split second after this thought, I started asking questions: What do I want to do anyway? Why am I in school instead of out in the world making a difference now? Why can't I be more focused?

But just as quickly, I answered my own question: Sometimes we need to invest time.. precious, vanishing time, in preparing ourselves for the things that we intend.

Someone asked me recently if I'd made any New Year's resolutions. I replied that I felt like I was always promising myself that I would do something differently, and so I didn't feel like I needed to use the New Year as an excuse to change. Maybe that's the truth, and maybe it's just a vague answer to address the fact that I never participate in this ritual.

At this point in the year, my day and week having been as it was, I do need to make a resolution. I need to take my time, to do right by the people I interact with, and to stop doing the things that are not right for me. And I must do this with all the honesty and respect that I can summon forth. And, I need to accept that sometimes, I just don't know what I want. And that is perfectly okay, so long as I admit it.

I'm not sure what this means yet, as far as putting it into practice. I'll let you know when I find out.

Now, the rest of my life. I have only things to say that I've said to everyone, having realized them: That my courses are perhaps too challenging for me, that I wish I was in California with Janet and my brother and Julia this weekend, that I try to live greener, that I have found great happiness in coaching the UNC ballroom team. With sadness, that a relationship seems to have not worked out. That despite an overall feeling of comfort in Durham, I still have not found myself here. Because of all that, I am grateful for every day.

These words are real. These words run deep. These words stay.
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