A leap of faith

When I was a freshman in college I lived, like many freshman, in the dorms. They weren’t just any dorms. They were the fancy dorms. Well, as fancy as dorms get. The building was made up of five identical floors, each containing four suites. One suite held two bathrooms, five bedrooms, eight beds and a den* of sorts.

My suitemates and I lived on the third floor. One day I** forgot this detail. I got off on the fourth floor, walked through the common room and into the shoebox, er, bedroom directly over top of my own. A strange girl sat at what, at the time, I believed was my desk. I looked at her. She looked at me. We looked at each other. And then I said the one and only thing I really could say in that moment of deadlock.

“Well, all right then. I’ll see you later.”

If only I had heeded Bob Dylan’s advice, “An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place when he thinks he’s at somewhere.”

An artist. A student. Pish Posh. We all get lost sometimes.

Like the time my friend and I stepped off a train in Switzerland instead of Italy, because I carelessly confused Geneva and Genoa at the ticket counter. We were backpacking around Europe after graduating college. Clearly, I never took geography. Fortunately, my lack of very fundamentally basic knowledge worked to our advantage. Had we not found ourselves in Switzerland, it’s unlikely we would have found ourselves jumping out of a helicopter over what can only be described as the most gorgeous place on earth.

Interlaken and the Thunersee

I’ll never forget that first step into the sky. Mostly because the tandem diver strapped to my back tricked me. There was a step just outside the door that we climbed up to board the helicopter. Just before we were to jump I was instructed to step out onto that very same ledge. I stepped all right, but it was a long time before my feet found anything solid to land on.

Dylan must have been talking about the mandatory orange jumpsuits and the thrill on our faces when he said, “You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming.”

Thinking back on my first and last days of college makes me feel a little sad. At the time, I felt like I had the whole rest of my life ahead of me. The possibilities were endless. Now here I am, charging towards my 30th birthday, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

But I have to remind myself that not much has changed. The truth is I’m a little lost. And I’m a lot terrible at geography. But I still have the whole rest of my life ahead of me. I just have to take a leap of faith and trust that when times get tough my parachute will open. And in the meantime, I should try to enjoy the ride.

After all, didn’t Bob figure, “As long as you can stay in that realm, you’ll sort of be all right.”

*My husband calls the living room the den, and I always ridicule his vocabulary choices, reminding him that, “We aren’t a pack of wolves!”

**As I’m writing this I’m realizing that this actually happened to another girl that lived in the suite. I think. I can’t actually remember. I do remember this. I was definitely the one who told a handsome young man that I could not give him my phone number because I didn’t remember what it was. And that was the truth. (Cut me some slack! It was a new number*** and I had a lot to take in that first week of college.) He, of course, thought it was the world’s lamest rejection line.

***Remember when most people didn’t have cell phones?

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Michael gave me this prompt: An artist has got to be careful never really to arrive at a place when he thinks he’s at somewhere. You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming. As long as you can stay in that realm, you’ll sort of be all right. -Bob Dylan.

I gave kgwaite this prompt: There’s always time to do it right.

17 thoughts on “A leap of faith

  1. Reading this reminded me of when Katie walked into the house next door to the Alpha Phi house and there were five guys hanging out on the couch. She asked them “Where is everyone?” and all the guys just looked at her so she said “OK, see ya later.” then turned and left.

  2. “Well, all right then. I’ll see you later.”
    This made me smile. I’ve added it to my bucket list of things I want to say before I die. It’s right up there with, “We’ve got a situation here.”

  3. I’m jealous that you’ve been skydiving!

    It’s funny that you say you’re turning 30 and you don’t know what you want to be, and that you’re a little lost. For some odd reason I feel like I AM a grown up, and this IS what I wanted to be, and now I’m just here riding the waves of every day life. It’s such a weird feeling.. It’s daunting because there’s no real goal that I’m working toward, but nice to be settled.

    I love how you take 2 unrelated events and totally tie them together. Good stories!

    • That’s awesome Kari. Believe me – I’m envious of you! I think there are a lot of people who take a long time figuring out what to do with themselves (myself included). Figuring that shit out is a huge accomplishment!

  4. I don’t think we ever truly know what we want to do. I know I don’t. But I do know I’d like to go backpacking through Europe! What an awesome experience that would be!

  5. haha! just a couple of days ago, a girl was trying to get into my office with the wrong key because she was convinced that she was assigned to my room. No matter what we said to her she wouldn’t be convinced. And she was not only at the wrong door, but at the wrong floor too! I do the same all the time. Though I don’t insist too much, because after so many years I can at least recognize my desk 🙂

  6. What an adventure! I don’t have the nerve to get in a helicopter, much less jump out of one. Love the dorm stories. I had a similar set-up, but mine was on the very top floor, so it was hard to mistake it– but I would have happily found other places to live since the environment was so toxic. I spent most of my time with the guys on the floor beneath mine– about half of whom were named Dave.

    • Hmm, a toxic environment doesn’t sound like much fun. Bummer. Glad to hear you had a place to escape to. I spent a lot of time down the hall in one of the boys’ suites. Not so much because of a toxic environment, but because, you know, I liked boys.

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