So here I am for the first time in I can't remember how many years. I think five, but it could be six. Certainly, I haven't been here since I started blogging, so at least four. It makes me feel not old exactly, but wistful. Wistful for all the times that I came here when I was a graduate student. Wistful for the excitement that I used to feel at the thought of seeing so many colleagues and friends. Of hanging out with my tribe. Of belonging.
Which, ironically, I actually do (belong, that is) in a way that I could only dream about when I was a graduate. So why do I feel so disconnected? Partly, I know, precisely because I haven't been here in so long. But I have seen many of the people here in other contexts, so it isn't as if I have been completely out of touch. Quite the reverse, in fact. And yet. There is something missing now that I had (or seemed to have) back in the day, back when the only dream I had was to become one of the professors whom I used to see here.
Perhaps that is what the professors whom I used to see felt then, too. Does one ever actually grow up, become a grown-up in the way that one imagined the adults were? Thanks to all the psychological work I have been doing these past several years, I do feel older, wiser even. But only because now things that used to excite or upset me, quite strongly at times, don't so much anymore. Does this mean that I have finally grown up in the way that my mother always seemed to wish I would? Or is it that I am just old?
I want the passions of my youth back. I want to care, to be excited, to be eager again. Instead, here I sit, weirdly calm.
I am not entirely sure that it is an improvement.
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