Life is about constant change. Though sometimes minor, we see change daily. We meet new clients, try new restaurants and find alternate driving routes at road detours. The world rotates, and so do we. We experience change, and so we become change. As I look out my apartment window onto the bright lights of Chicago, I think about the significant changes I will face in these quickly approaching weeks. This, I realize, is my final countdown.
In two days, I will be unemployed. I will be free of a job I’ve long outgrown and have four weeks off to catch my breath and prepare for my next journey. For the next 16 months, my profession will read “student.” I plan to take that position seriously. After all, it could help me change the world.
In 17 days, I will receive my final paycheck from an organization I spent three years working for. I have not made a lot of money in my five years since graduating college, but I’ve seen steady paychecks. Until I cross the stage with my master’s degree in hand, I will live off government loans and my quickly depleting savings account. I wonder how much Ramen Noodles sell for these days.
In 24 days, I will say goodbye to my adorable studio apartment. This place has been my safe haven – my diamond in the rough. I lie in bed and stare up at the brick ceiling above me. From the moment I moved in, these bricks have strengthened and protected me. We all go through hardships, and this apartment embraced me through one of mine.
On that 24th day, I will load a truck with all my belongings and drive south to Louisiana. My friends will stay here, in this “Windy City” I have grown to love. These friends are my shiny seashells on a sandy beach and my stocking stuffers on Christmas morning. They are rare, beautiful and have provided me with more life gifts than I could have ever imagined receiving. You all know who you are, and I love you more than you know.
In 31 days, I will begin graduate school at Tulane University in New Orleans. I will struggle to choose my first-day-of-school outfit. My life will be different, and I won’t have a clue what I am doing. My future will hold greater opportunities because I chose this program. My experiences will be richer and my life more fulfilled. I will know no one.
As our environments change, we change. We grow. Clocks keep ticking, people keep moving and the sun continues to rise and set. Time does not wait, so we ride. And what a ride this will be. This is my final countdown.