Hi, reader. Happy Independence Day.
Some of you out there already know why the Fourth of July is so important to me, but for the rest of you, a bit of background might be in order. Fifteen years ago today I had a pretty terrible bike accident that resulted in three broken limbs, including a fractured growth plate above my left knee that stopped growing. Ten years ago this summer, I had a corrective lengthening device placed on my left leg to try to regain some of my lost growth. It wasn’t entirely successful, so I’m still a little uneven. I compensate for it fairly well, though every now and again someone will ask me why I’m limping when the truth of the matter is that I didn’t even notice that I was. I wrote a really great message on the 10-year anniversary of my accident, and re-reading it, I can’t help but feel that the me of five years ago was a little more put together than the me of today.
To be fair, in July 2001 the tragedies of September 11 were still two months away—the biggest crises in my life were my lengthy German assignments for summer school class and spotty dial-up internet access in my sublet. I had Future Plans and Post-College Aspirations, but I still had plenty of time in which to sort things out. Heck, I wasn’t even 20 years old yet. Now, at not-quite-25, I have OCI bids to evaluate and rank, my entire future career to sort out (to some short-term extent, at least), and a procrastinatory streak a mile wide to fight in getting all of this done. My 19-year-old self was SO convinced that she could do absolutely anything she set her mind to. My 24-year-old self is not so persuaded, as some things (standardized test scores, assigned professors, forced grading curves) cannot be changed no matter how stubbornly committed you are. I’m a little more cynical, a little more pragmatic, a little less naïve about how the world works nowadays, and that’s sort of a shame, but it’s also inevitable with the passage of time, I suppose.
I do wish, though, for a little more freedom: freedom from self-doubt, from bad habits, from unpleasant people, from injustice. (Maybe I should’ve picked a different profession.)
I wish I had something more uplifting to say, folks. I’m really sorry about that. Maybe I’ll have regained some of my limitless optimism in five years’ time. Maybe I’ll be less worried about how the leg-length discrepancy will affect my aging process. Maybe I’ll be satisfied with how I spent my 20s and eager to turn 30. Maybe I’ll have found success in my job, or at the very least, I’ll have had more concrete work experience behind me to inform my future career plans.
Right now, though, I just feel… transitional. And that’s keeping me grounded. Someday soon, maybe I can take to the skies, like those beautiful fireworks over the lake last night.
Soon. Someday. Not yet. Not quite.