Soft Reset

It’s that time of year. Well, one of those that times. Time for a reset.

The stress of research papers, exams, final projects distracts you enough not to really see it coming. Then, suddenly, it’s right there staring you in the face: the end. The end for now, anyway.

Did you have the chance to say goodbye to everyone you met over the semester? To throw a thank you at the professors who inspired you and really taught you something? To just take in the atmosphere of the campus, the place — the community — that you won’t be a part of again for more than three months?

Well, I sort of dropped the ball on all of those. Except the last one, and that only reminded me how much I’m going to miss this place.

In any case, that’s my reset. Nah, I’m not having a kid, or getting married, or graduating even. If you were expecting a big revelation like that, sorry. Those are the kind you’d probably call hard resets.

This is more of a soft one, I suppose. Something important in your life ends — but not permanently. At least, when it comes back, it will be mostly the same. Different classes, professors, classmates, climate… But the same place, and the same community.

Generally, this is one of those times of year when I get into what my friends might call one of my “phases.” If they’re being nice, that is; I’m sure there are other, less polite names that are just as fitting. You know — when I get all reflective and mopey and writerly.

Writerly is probably the best word for these periods of change. I’ve spent two consecutive semesters now being a student, but there’s a heck of a lot of days looming up when I’m going to have to be a not-student, and I always feel like I have to relearn what that means. Usually it means writing, because that’s how I make sense of things. Even if it’s bad writing — and it usually is — it helps sort out thoughts and feelings accumulated-but-never-explored over the last year.

There are a lot of those. I’ve got the most confusing emotion-stew going in my head over this college. I feel so out of place here and so at home at the same time, and all I can say is that I love the place more than I’ve loved any other. Some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met entered my life in the last year, too, not just in school but here in the blogosphere.  And I’m still not really sure what they mean to me or what direction our relationships are headed in. I only know that I want these people to be in my life no matter what.

The break is a welcome one, then, in a way. Time to parse all those feelings, and maybe write something of substance while I’m at it. But it also means I’ve got to be separated from the place and people I’ve fallen head over heels for. Endings. New beginnings. All those clichés.

Whatever it is, it’s a reset — soft or hard — with all that bittersweet stewiness of wonderful-memories-had and goodbyes-said.

Not sure what the summer will bring, but despite having to leave all this stuff behind for a while, I’m happier and more hopeful this time around than I’ve been before. If you’ll forgive the sappy metaphors, I’d say I’m flipping the page onto a new chapter, popping the Windows disk in for a fresh install, selecting the previously-greyed-out New Game +… Pick your favorite.

See you on the other side.

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