This week was supposed to be one of the most exciting – and nerve-wracking – for someone in my shoes.

It is the week where those training for my profession find out where they will go (and sometimes, what they will do) in the next step of training for their career. We’ve been furiously studying, testing, applying, and interviewing (the first for the past few years, the last for the past few months) … And then one day a month ago, we had to make a final choice, commit to it, and be done. So did “they” – the big guys, the unknowns, the programs we wanted to accept us. And then we all waited…

Until Thursday. Until noon. Until one little envelope was opened to tell you the future.

Tensions were high this past week, and rose to a fever pitch in that room. Faces showed the varying emotions that come with such an event – excitement, fear, nervousness… nausea… Some grinned uncontrollably, their face a rictus of uncontrolled emotions; some clutched hands, their mouths turned down in frowns of concentrations as they sought to contain what they did not want to show the world; some talked incessantly, unable to stop, hoping to rush the moment forward with their breath; while others still were silent, quiet in the background, sunk in their waiting.

And then the moment came, with the surge forward, the rising chatter, the pause as each took the moment of receiving their envelope to decide when and where to open it – here, now? there, later?

And with a rip, most went on, to learn of their new life that they were now committed to.

It is a scene I have seen so many times before – eight, to be precise. I took a varying path to get here – not wandering, oh no, but with one detour through another degree, another four years – and so I came to this day with slightly different eyes than the rest of those around me. Their excitement could not be contained; mine, to tell the truth, barely existed.

I suppose there are many factors contributing to this – my age, relative experience, and such might play a slight role. My temperment probably playing a larger one. My relative confidence in the result I held in my hand still another. And finally, all summing together, my situation.

For those around me, this might very well have been the pinnacle of their existence – and certainly their nascent career – thus far.

For me, it was neither. Truth to tell, I was more excited about the burgeoning kicks coming from my belly; the fear and anticipation of the new journey I will be undertaking just before the start of the life held in that little envelope. I had also surpassed the fear and frustrations of this day two years before, when I stood in a room and had to defend the work I had done for the four years prior, when I had to state unequivicably that I was done, I was ready – and hope the people staring back at me agreed.

And so, I opened my envelope to get the news I expected – I will be starting the next phase of my training exactly where I wanted. I smiled, I hugged some of those around me, I called my family and friends to let them know the news.

But it was not the day that it was for most of those around me – no tears of joy or frustration, no exuberant parties after to help me celebrate or forget. If I had taken the path most of those surrounding me had chosen – had been in this position four years before, younger, more uncertain, and not pregnant – I do not know if I would have had a day more like theirs.

But in some ways, I wish I could. I wish I could take the day to celebrate, truly celebrate and revel in, this one little piece of paper. To hold it in my hand for all to see, glory in my future, and then take the city by storm to share my excitement with the world.

In other ways, I am glad I have moved past this; for in truth, what seems a pinnacle now will be shown to be a small step in the future. It is the fact that my eyes can clearly see this now, as it happens, that contains me; it is a realization others will come to slowly. I am no longer young and carefree, and while some days I do miss that life, I would never trade the one I have made and grown into to return to it. I may no longer go dancing on bars, but the quiet contentment of a night snuggled with my husband, an afternoon watching my daughter kick and bounce my belly, a morning spent walking peacefully through the park with my dog – these are the pleasures I would never want to give up, the pleasures of now, the pleasures I have worked my life into yielding to me. They are less exciting – no screaming, no tears of uncontained emotions – but they are no less joyful.

Yet, I do not wish for events to pass me by with no acknowledgment. My joy may be less enthusiastic, my vision seeing a slightly different milestone, but this moment should not go unremarked. I need to remember to stop, savor the accomplishment, succor my moment of happiness. I need to remember to celebrate me, now, this moment. To not just look ahead and see what needs to be done, or behind and what has been accomplished this far. I need to remember to live in the now, as those around me were.

This is the constant struggle within me – remember the now, don’t just plan for the future. Take the time to savor, don’t rush by on your hurry to get to where you are going. Be excited. Be happy. Be thrilled.

I am writing this, now, to remember. I was not the girl who screamed or cried, I was not the one who celebrated like there was no tomorrow. But I was no less happy. I was no less excited. This was my moment, as well. A moment in which I succeeded. A moment of accomplishment. A moment to cherish.

Advertisements