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

Just after sunset, I went for a run, desperate to get away from a day whitewashed with mindless regret. I ran without contacts, which I do when I do not want to meet the eyes of others upon me. I find, too, that I can run stronger when I can't plan for what comes, nor even see it when it does. But even today I could not push myself hard enough to reach exhaustion, so after three miles and track sprints, I sat down on number "26" painted on the Egan blacktop and watched the moon melt upwards. I stayed for a long time, letting the asphalt grit imprint my palms, just looking at the blue-grey marble above me. A quintessential cloudy California sky, it was, lined with the silhouettes of redwood trees. 

This evening I was thinking about what a writer can get away with saying that a businesswoman can't. The half-sanity of slowly sinking to lay flat on a junior high's blacktop, while whispering to the feckless air about life choices, is longingly poetic and impossibly impractical. What does it mean to describe the bruised sky jilting away from me, the sudden shriek of a crow making me want to shed my own skin?

Two years ago, I had a conversation with a manager at Google about her choice to go to business school. When she attended, she was one of just a few women in a class of hundreds, and she was the first in her family to finish college, let alone graduate school. I'm glad I went, she told me then, but if I'd known the type of life I would have to lead afterward, the type of job I would have to work because of the expectations of having this degree, I don't know that I would have made the same choice. She had been a ballet dancer, and majored in English and French. I sometimes think we saw ourselves in each other.

Decisions are so often made without full consideration. I have not always found peace in my own. Sometimes it takes years of introspection for me to truly come to terms with them. I believe that regret is borne of hindsight, and that I ought not shy from it. The key, I think, is turning regret into self-transformation through thorough reflection. I've made a lot of decisions in the past few months, many are unsatisfying. But somehow they bring me closer to myself and help me sense the world's puddled vagaries.

I got up, eventually, when my bones started to feel the cold. I walked home. Apparently a lot of Los Altos residents walk around in the dark. Brisk, dark shapes, full of brains and zeal, attached to dogs and spouses and purpose. I nod at them, and maybe they nod back. The day, it turns out, is not yet over.
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