Saturday, June 14, 2014

The last five years:


I never went on to tertiary study when I finished high school. In fact, I hardly even 'finished' at all. School just kind of faded out and work faded in, and suddenly I was doing a whole bunch of projects I really cared about, burning the candle at both ends, and loving every minute of it (I needed less sleep back then). A degree was the last thing on my mind. But five years ago, it all kind of fell together for me to begin a bachelor of arts, majoring in creative writing, minoring in history, maxing out in books and words and thoughts.

On Friday, I handed in my final paper of my Master's degree. Mum called later that day to share the excitement. "I just realised," she said, "that you've finished your degree just as everything is winding down." She was right. In those five years, my second sister got married. My brother re-met and got engaged to his high school crush. Two nephews and a niece joined the family. My parents lived in Tasmania, Western Australia, and New Zealand. A lot went on in that time and my personal world spun pretty fast.

But now: my dad has finished his recent work contract and moved back to Queensland. My parents are going into business together. My life has an established pattern in a place I feel at home in, even though I'd never have guessed I could feel at home in Queensland. But this is my place now. I feel like a local, I'm full of patriotic pride in this little region and all of its loveliness. I have two part-time jobs that I care about, I belong to a church. The people at my library know me by name. I have conversations with checkout people and sometimes I even see them at my church. The guy at Blockbuster asks after my life. The owner of the best local fish and chips place passed away recently and I'm sad because I feel like I knew him. I meet with a cool little gang on Thursday nights and we talk about life and CS Lewis. I meet with another friend on Monday night and we pray and read the bible. I have a buddy who lives on the north side but still makes time out of her busy life to hang out, see movies, and talk books. I kind of even know my way around without a map.

None of this was really going on five years ago. None of it. I felt like a newcomer to every part of what my life was then, and my roots weren't down deep. "Your degree gave you stability when there was none," my mother said on the phone. "Now you're finished and life has settled down." I hadn't thought of it that way, but it was true. And I've lived long enough to know that nothing ever settles down, really. But it does feel like we've come out onto a plateau and the view from here is a good one.

Considering this, I'm thankful. But I'm also wary that this may sound like everything's coming up Danielle. My life is no more perfect than it was five years ago. I think I'm definitely more neurotic than I was before. I wrestle more with anxiety. And the single life at times feels more like a cage than a pair of unfettered wings. But my life feels steady in a way I haven't often experienced in this wandering life, and that's new and good.

I've spent so many paragraphs talking about anything but what I actually studied and why it was relevant. It was ridiculously important to me, and I'm definitely going to expound on that, but for the moment I want to appreciate this unexpected revelation: that studying gave me some bones to hang my life on in a time when everything was shifting and uncertain me around me. I'm pretty thankful for that. And I'm thankful for the one who orchestrates time and circumstance so that the pieces fit together well, even if it only makes sense in retrospect.

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Conversations:
  • Brenda Wilkerson -- thank you :)
  • Lauren -- and thank you.
  • Melody -- thank you for reading along! x
  • Bush Maid -- I love that you can relate.
  • Asea -- gosh, yes. I hadn't thought of the relationship to intuition. You're so right. (I've never heard of Predator Cities but it sounds amazing!).
  • Meaghan -- oh you.
  • Mothercare -- hearts. xx
  • Joy -- thank you! Isn't it amazing how many kindred feelings and experiences we all share and yet struggle to find words for?
  • The Elf -- I'm honoured by your nomination. Thank you!
  • Brooke -- thank you for reminding me about your blog! I lost all my old feeds when my computer died, so now I can keep reading!

5 comments:

Emily Dempster said...

Congratulations on your degree, Danielle! That is really exciting, and a wonderful achievement. :)

I love reading your blog - I think it is because I love to keep in touch with people and you and your family stand out in my memory from when I was a little girl (good grief - I must have been _really_ little!) I seem to be becoming more and more nostalgic as I am getting older... which ridiculous coming from a nineteen year old. ;)

Keep your eyes fixed on eternity, Danielle, and never stop trusting our God - He will always be there for you and will never leave nor forsake you! :) <3

Andrea said...

God is so good. So are your posts.

Bonnie said...

Ditto Andrea!

Congratulations on finishing, and what an awesome post! I don't comment often enough, but I do really enjoy reading your blog. Even though we've never met, I feel like I know you rather well!
It's good to hear that you're feeling grounded and at home. Ready to take on some other adventure perhaps! :-)

Asea said...

Yes; being in graduate school makes me feel grounded in a way I never really was before. It has enough change to keep me fiercely interested (and occupied), but enough stability that I have certainty in my life. People who used to know me often ask my mother how I'm doing. She used to answer, "She's in Russia." Now she tells them, "She's like a fish who's finally back in water." :-)

I'm so glad uni did the same for you!

And I'm very, very much looking forward to hearing about what you studied, why it is important to you, and the new bits of our social world you created during your academic time. :-)

Jasmine Ruigrok said...

Bravo, Danielle! I'm so happy for you, not just that you graduated, but that you decided to step out in faith and begin it in the first place. That's a huge thing, and I'm so glad to see that you persevered and stuck at it to the end. Well done!

I can understand a little how having something to study and throw yourself into can give your life bearings. But now that it's over, don't fear what's ahead. God only gives good gifts, and He promises them to those who diligently seek Him, so keep looking up.

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