The Graduation Restoration: Person Under Construction

It finally feels like the end.

For the last few months I’ve been counting down the days, praying that some number would trigger the feeling that the end was near, and really it had been doing the opposite.  100 more days felt like a lifetime.  80 felt worse, because the 20 between 100 and 80 had seemed to last forever.  But we came back from our weekend away and it hit me the moment I walked in the door.  Law school is almost over.

We’re still 37 days out from graduation, but that number feels much smaller when I look at my calendar.  I’m going to finish out the week, spend most of next week in DC, and then have one week left when I’m back.  Then finals… and to be honest, when you’ve made it to the end, two self scheduled finals seem pretty insignificant.  Then lots of banquets and dinners and parties… and then it’s all over.  It feels simultaneously like it’s been forever, and like we just started yesterday.

I could expound on that anomaly, and I’m sure I will later, but I think the reality is this: I haven’t felt like myself this whole time.  There’s this weird image in my mind of me walking into law school, blonde and pink and happy, and then slowly this other person taking over who I don’t even recognize.  She’s darker, more cynical, perpetually annoyed and chronically tearful.  Even I can’t stand her, but none of my many efforts to fight her off worked.  I see the real me waiting at the end, like somehow, when it’s over, I magically get to be ME again. But can it really be that easy?

I want it to be.  I’ve even considered uprooting us and trying to put my life back to the way it was, just to expedite the process. But really, I know that doesn’t work.  We could move back to the city I left but still have an abnormal crush on, but I wouldn’t suddenly be in college again, or in my time off after college.  I wouldn’t be single and content to live on a shoestring budget.  My friends aren’t all still there, and the ones that are I haven’t seen in ages.  Three years changes a lot, and the rest of the world wasn’t in this law school bubble with me.  It kept right on going.

But even though I can’t go back, I want HER back.  A married, older version of her is fine, but this dark, twisted version isn’t.  Maybe she is just magically waiting at the end of the gradation stage.  Diploma, handshake, POOF: old me.  But in case she isn’t, I’ve decided to develop a plan.  The Graduation Restoration.

Restoration: the return of something to a former, original, normal or unimpaired condition.

That’s all I want.  Not so much to ask for.

Taking the advice from Ben Franklin and Gretchen Rubin, I’ve decided this requires blueprints.  A real, honest assessment of what needs to go, what needs to come back, and how I’m going to make that happen.  If I have no idea what the future holds right now, I can’t leave it to chance.  I need to figure out how to get back to being a person I liked, before whatever is coming actually gets here.

And so, I’m starting with the easiest thing, a symbol that I’ve returned: I’m going back to blonde.  I had platinum blonde hair when I started law school (and pink glasses… I was trying to play up the legally blonde angle to convince myself it would be a fun adventure.)  But three months in it felt all wrong, and I took it dark brown.  It’s been that way ever since.  It’s time to lighten up, physically and mentally.

Now on to the tough stuff…

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6 thoughts on “The Graduation Restoration: Person Under Construction

  1. Oh man! I can SO relate! This world (and the bad within it) definitely has the potential to cloud our sunshine, dampen our dreams and turn us into things we hardly recognize. I wish you the best on your journey to restore yourself to your previous, bubbly, sunny self! (And then when you do it, could you give ME some hints??!) Blonde sounds like the perfect first step . . .

  2. I’m in a different situation, but I can relate. I went to grad school thinking that I was finally on my way to doing things that I really truly cared about, realized about half way that this degree/program wasn’t exactly all I had hoped it would be and perhaps my career aspirations lied elsewhere, graduated, got a job that was/is SO WRONG for me, and, well… lost myself in the process. I’m slowely starting to come back to myself, but it’s certainly a process, and it takes work.

    Regardless, congrats on graduation! I’m sure the next stage of your life is going to be wonderful :)

    • Figuring out what to do with the wrong graduate degree is so hard… I will be right there with you if I take a law job. I know it’s wrong for me, but I still feel like I should. If you have any tips on coming back, I’d love to hear them!

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