One of the most significant things I've learned in my relatively short life is this: the answer to the question "who am I?" is ever-changing.
As has been said by someone far more brilliant than I: "All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his lifetime shall play many parts." Or something like that (I could look it up, I really could, but I'm trying to hurry because I'm probably going to a concert that my dear friend is singing in even though I'm already in my pajamas due to the fact that tomorrow will be my third consecutive 5am shift during my first week back for my last semester of college and all I want to do is sleep for 500 years. I really love that friend).
I'm just a'ponderin' these days, quite a bit. Like, who am I?
WHO AM I?
And the answer is never exactly the same.
I have been: a Mormon engaged to be married to her first boyfriend at age 20, a weed-smoking/shoplifting/smartmouthed 14-year-old who wanted nothing more than the label "BADASS" stamped on her persona (guys...that was never going to happen), a kid afraid to tell her teachers for a good month or two into school years that she went by a nickname and was rarely ever called by her full name, a successful pediatric dental assistant dreaming of becoming a dental hygienist one day with her own fantastic office, a kid who abandoned her regular group of friends for a year in order to hang out every day with a group of girls who played "vampires" at recess (admittedly, one of my happiest times, if I'm recalling my life correctly), the fourth child (out of five) whose primary identifier was the fact that she was most likely to be playing in a corner with a doll while the other four were cartwheeling in the other room, a Mormon married to not her first boyfriend and constantly seeking artistic outlets with him, a pretty much ex-Mormon who went back to college full-time in order to get a degree in Musical Theatre.
Among many other things.
I am still working on that Musical Theatre degree, that one is something that I have been/still am. I'm so close, and feel so ready to quit. That is much of what has me pondering who I am currently. There have been much more motivated me's along the way. Me currently is feeling all tied up. Much of my current situation is not/was not my very first choice in all the discussions and compromises that led me here. Now, I've been incredibly blessed in the program I'm a part of. The faculty is teeming with fantastic mentors. So many of the students there are people I would love to work with/keep in contact with for all my life.
But that's the thing, my experience is different from theirs. I'm fairly positive that, one day, once we're all graduated and moved on from where we are, they're going to matter to me so much more than I do to them. I'm near thirty, most of them are almost or barely past twenty. They will move so far past these experiences, and who knows who they'll be when they're nearer to my age? My age difference makes me an outsider, and (though sometimes I actually love that fact) that's a struggle for me. Knowing that I'll be saying goodbye to so much so soon makes me wonder what I'll be remembered for, and I don't have a clue what it could be. It's ironic that I've spent so much of my life trying to be unobtrusive, but then hurt that people know nothing about me.
As the musical First Date puts it, "I go building up walls, yet I wish to be found."
It's terrifying to leave and to feel as though it won't matter. The people who shaped my life (aside from my immediate family) at age 20 are no longer a part of it. I hate thinking that these people who have changed me and taught me so much will see me as a part of that area of life. Maybe they won't. Maybe I'll come back and read this only to slap myself on the forehead 10 times over for how ridiculous I'm sounding.
I do want to clarify that I know these friends love me. I know that I "belong here" to so many of them right now. But one day I won't be someone that they rely on or think of on a daily/weekly basis anymore. And it feels silly to want them to, because I am so much older. Shouldn't it not matter to me? Most of these people were born when I was 10 years old or so. I'm closer in age to some of my professors than I am to most of my "peers" (which is kinda embarrassing - 'cause that brings up the question of what on earth I've been doing with my life all this time).
I'm not sure who/what I am, and often I'm kinda at peace with that notion, but I'm currently struggling a great deal with it. I need a Narnia. I need some other world to escape to for a while, but to reappear after learning a million things to discover that I've only been gone five minutes. Too many thoughts, too little strength, too much to do, too little time. So many answers that I wish were easy to find, and yet I feel like I've never stopped asking most of them from the moment that they first occured to me. And I'm sure I'm not alone. There must be others who feel exactly so many of the things that I feel. I'm just not particularly adept at reaching out. Sakes. Gotta go. If I'm going to this concert, I'm going to have to pretty up a bit.
So, hopefully that's an answer to who/what I am right now: a good friend. Whatever it will mean in future years. I guess being remembered well is all most of us really can ask for.