Tuesday, June 13, 2006

no matter how cold the winter, there's a springtime ahead

Depending on what time of year I took finals, I had nearly diametrically opposed reactions. In the fall semester, it always seemed that I was fighting off some nasty bug, dragging myself to the finish line. When all the cramming was behind me and the tests taken, I crashed hard. Inevitably, my immune system would give up and I would come down with some illness. Even though I never really pulled all-nighters, I felt spent in the aftermath of finals, and just wanted to loll around doing nothing. When I went home in the winter, all I wanted was my morning cereal, and a blanket wrapped around me, until well into the afternoon. When my friends from high school called, I made up excuses about family obligations.

Maybe it was because I knew I still had a long haul ahead. Maybe it was because the weather in Boston in the winter encourages such lethargy and nesting. The spring thaw melted me along with the ice. I had more trouble studying for finals in the spring, but it still felt like more fun. The spring is something I really miss about the Northeast; I wax nostalgic about the frenzy and wild enthusiasm accompanying the first few nice days of the year. These days always seemed to fall on the week before finals, distracting me out of the library for a brief walk that would turn into a two hour excursion. I would start out telling myself I was just going to take a quick stroll along the river, and would wind up on Newbury Street buying flowers and CDs. But even studying did not seem tiresome: each hour of studying was one step closer to summer.

It was too long ago now, so I cannot remember the exact moment of walking out of my finals in the spring. But I remember the feeling. I remember the feeling of the dark, clammy hallways that opened up into bright, warm sunlight. A smile from ear to ear. The overwhelming desire to curl up in the grass and bask in the brightness. Drinking beer in the afternoon, going dancing until dawn. Okay, not dawn. It was Boston, after all. Nothing stays open that late.

Last night I was annoyed with myself for not feeling sufficiently elated about finishing the first major milestone of The Goal. Today, I realized that it is just not spring semester yet.

But there is something more at play. Even back in those days when I was jubilant and responsibility-free, I was never one to jump on a table and shout hurrah. Sometimes I feel very jealous and possessive of my happiness. I want to hoard it all to myself. I sometimes think of happiness as a secret and selfish thought. Perhaps that is why my friends are often surprised when I reveal that I am usually pretty happy. I may still feel in my fall semester right now, but even at the end of it all, I know I will not be sufficiently bubbly to satisfy those around me. What can I say? I live to disappoint.

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