It struck me the other day, possibly because I’ve been running a lot lately, that college felt a bit like interval training: it included a lot of intense sprints (i.e. the pulling of all-nighters to bang out papers and cram for tests), followed by recovery periods (sleeping until noon, fall pause, spring break). The real world, on the other hand, is like endurance work: it moves at a steady pace and offers little to no recovery time apart from weekends and personal days. Sometimes the pace picks up or slows down and sometimes you do become exhausted, but you know it is necessary to keep on moving until you find that comfortable speed again. If only my physical running skills could help me train for this new after-college lifestyle.
I said in a past entry that the first snowfall away from school would be probably be the first big step toward my realization that I am not going back to school (undergraduate school, I mean). Well, the approach of spring seems to be the second. Spring air has always carried the scent of upcoming freedom, whether it be summer vacation, the end of the finals, or graduation. Even as a college graduate, I can still feel scraps of that anticipation and excitement from last year and all the years before. It will be a challenge to come to terms with how these feelings are not no longer attached to a prolonged vacation, and with how I am now a part a world in which sweaty weather is always at contrast with the artificial cold of office air.
It will take a few years before I will be able to detach “spring” from “break” and “summer” from “vacation,” but I have already begun to learn about other notable things that come with the two seasons aside from freedom. With spring comes eating lunch outside, for instance, and farmers markets, the beginning of the outdoor racing season, and the time that people enroll in those outdoor “fitness bootcamps” to whip their bodies into shape for the summer. And I assume that with summer will come late sunsets, new music, windblown car rides, and an overall feeling of optimism.
So maybe spring and summer will no longer feature that often fantasized about “end in sight.” Maybe I will spend my first two or three real world springs and summers longing for a few lazy months without work, and jealous of those that get to enjoy such a time (I’m sure I will). Even so, I am excited to uncover a new set of spring and summer rituals to wedge between my working hours.