At the end of her last semester of college, just like any soon-to-be graduate, she started to panic. Even if not asked by anyone, the typical question popped in her mind every single minute of the day. What will she do next? Where is she going to live? What is she going to do? Is she going to find a job? Or rather pursue graduate studies?
She started writing out lists and hanging them on the walls of her room. If they did not fell on their own, she’d rip them off, as they were a constant reminder, when she woke up every day and just before she went to sleep every night, of the dark uncertainty that awaited her impatiently.
She tried remembering the last time she was in such a cross point. She was in high school, she didn’t know which university she is going to join or which country she’s going to study for university. Yet, things miraculously happened, she ended up in a place she never thought she’s be. It was life being unfolded in front of her. It was life being life.
How did she deal with it back then? She remembered being nervous and uncertain, but she always had a plan. She kept herself calm and she worked hard on achieving that. But she’s not doing that anymore. Instead, she’s having nightmares, she’s afraid, she’s extremely uncertain, and she is extremely mad about the injustice around her in the world.
Who was she? She tried to remember. Which led her to decide her next step after graduation: to get to meet her older self again.
And so, she moved back to the city where she grew up. She moved back to live with her family in her childhood home.
She took walks in the park where she had happily played as a child. She heard herself singing, doing little jumps between the different playing areas. She visited the streets and malls where she hung out as a teenager and remembered the first time she went out with her friends. She even visited her school which now moved to a new campus (she envies the new students so much). There, she met some of her teachers and saw the pride in their eyes as they remembered her, the good student.
After five years, she got reunited with her school friends. They reminded each other of memories they thought they had forever forgotten. They recalled the kid in 4th grade who brought a plastic bottle filled with soil and insects to science class. They remembered their cute teacher in 8th grade and the vast amounts of food in the end of year parties.
As she’s travelled back into memory lane, she kept gathering little pieces of herself.
In the walls of her room, she was reminded with the times she’d lock her sixteen year-old self for hours writing a poem, or creating a song or the time she started a novel. She was reminded with the long days she had spent sitting behind a desk, determined that, that year, she’d get the highest grades she would ever achieve. And she did.
Now, she locked her twenty-three year-old self in the walls of her room and spent days in front of a screen determining her future. She hung up a calendar, not to mark the months of unemployment, but to write down a small list of goals for each day. She wrote her dreams and hung them on the wall, the way she did five years ago. The papers didn’t fall off on their own, and she didn’t rip them off either. They didn’t remind her of the uncertainty that has now become her reality, she didn’t have nightmares. Instead, they kept her determined, ambitious, and optimistic, the way they did five years ago.
In the walls of her room, the memories of school and in the jokes of her school friends, she was reminded of her highly ambitious dreams, and her limitless imagination. She has met herself again.