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As a kid, I used to dream about moving to someplace where nobody knew me.  Now that I’m 23, I still fantasize about hopping onto a plane at a moment’s notice, except the prospect of being cramped up in a small space for more than six hours makes my knees ache.  Nonetheless, the idea of starting with a clean state is an attractive thought; that if you could change your environment, then you can fashion yourself to be whatever sort of person you always wanted to be.  Now that I’ve actually done it, I can’t really say that I’ve changed much, personality-wise.  What was it about myself that I wanted to change so much?  I’m not quite sure what I expected when I moved to Boston; maybe not a complete 180, but at least a 90 degree or something, right?  What I have learned is that I am who I always was, and who I’ll become is what I’ve always had the capacity to be.  I don’t need to force myself to change anything; I’m just going to let the “growing up” take care of that.

With the new year and pending interviews for graduate school, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to end up for the next five or six years.  If I were myself two years ago, I would’ve jumped at the opportunity to try somewhere completely different; not California and not Boston.  But I don’t really feel like pulling another major move anytime soon.  As much of an introvert as I am, building a social network from scratch is a lonely feat that I’m not quite up for doing again, yet.  And now that I’ve found a comfortable rhythm and routine here, I’ve been able to appreciate Boston much more for its beauty and vast number of places/things that I have yet to discover.  Even in this frigid weather, I am still excited to step outside and feel the drops of cold as the snow falls on my face.  The question is whether I can see myself spending the rest of my 20’s here, or anywhere else.  Wow, that’s such a loaded decision.

Recently, an old friend came to visit me.  It’s always somewhat of a surprise to see old friends now, since I rarely see them, so any lifestyle change is especially striking.  And for X—‘s visit, the first thing I noticed was the change in wardrobe.  He has graduated from slightly over-sized flannel shirts to form-fitting, and dare I say it, attractive “Urban Outfitter-esque” clothes.  I’m so glad to see that one of us has made the fortunate leap of buying our own clothes instead of relying on our parents’ best guess at youthful fashion; albeit, my mom still buys most of my clothing, but only because she is blessed with better sartorial sense.

We spent a bit talking about our immediate futures and reminiscing about sunny California while we braced against the northeastern winds.  Like me, he will also decide where he’s going to study for the next few years.  While both of us have fond recollections of the golden state, we are reluctant to return home for the next decade of our lives.  More surprising for him since I distinctly remember how adamant he was about living near home for medical school (and how he hated the idea of recreational drinking—well, guess who drank with me last weekend?).  It’s nice to see that people do change over time.  Who knows, maybe in a few years, I might change my mind about that PhD.  Maybe I’ll fall into teaching or turn around and pursue political science, or something.  As scary as it can be when plans fall apart, maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t always follow linear lives.

Right now thought, I’m going to graduate school.  Regardless of where I’ll end up, I think I’m going to have one “helluva” time.  I’m so excited; I can’t wait.

Pumpkin Garlic Knots from Handle the Heat