I am 30.
It's 9:15 on a Monday morning and I am thirty years old.
Yesterday I graduated with my Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work.
This time last year I packed up the house I own, put it up for rent, sold 90% of my belongings, and moved to my childhood home for the first time in over a decade. I quit my senior position at a long-term care facility and started classes.
When I started the program last year they told me this would be the fastest year of my life.
I think I've told this story a thousand times and it feels as though it's lost its magic.
The amount of hard work and sacrifice of this last year feels normalized.
I'm still coasting. That long-legged run at the end of a sprint, to prevent the startle of a dead stop.
This morning it's all done. This part of it anyway.
And I've normalized it, but in so many ways that's dangerous.
Dangerous to believe this amount of stress is manageable long-term, dangerous to not acknowledge what it took to survive, dangerous to not learn how to be proud of yourself.
I told my clinical supervisor the other day that when I started this journey, I didn't start it because I knew I could do it. This was not a shoe-in. I started because I was faced with a choice. A fork in the road. To the right would have been a cliff, I think. Or a path of a lot of the same. Maybe not something as obviously malicious as a cliff -- but life wasn't in that direction. Growth was. Flourishing wasn't. To the left was a bridge. A precarious rope bridge. And I had no idea where it led.
No one needs to understand why I made the decision I made.
As that same clinical supervisor said, "desire is enough". I might quantify that with a "sometimes", but what she meant was I didn't owe anyone an explanation.
But what I want you to understand, even if you don't need to know "why", is that I did not know if this would go well.
I did not know if this would end well at all.
I came into this season of life with an empty cup. I had experienced more loss and grief and hardship and sabotaging than I'd ever care to admit-- a season of total deconstruction. And I truly wasn't sure I had what it took.
But the risk of trying was worth it, compared to the risk of taking any other path.
So here I am.
I am 30.
It's 5pm now because I don't know how to write this.
But I have a Master's Degree.
I graduated with a 4.0, departmental honors; was awarded student of the year, and passed the state licensure exam last week.
And now it's all over.
I'm laying on the couch, 30 years old, with a Master's degree.
When I was 20 I wrote, "it's only weird when you think about it."
There's no eloquence to be had right now. There's poetry in it, somewhere. It's a story worth telling, certainly. But all my good words have gone missing. It's taking all I have to string sentences together coherently. Because this is all over now. And what comes next will be hard in a different way. What comes next will be a brand new adventure. And honestly, I'll have to wait until more words come to process that.
All I know is that last night it rained.
As it should.
Stormed and flooded; lightning and thunder. My god, it rained.
And Olivia said it first.
Washed it all clean.