Two weeks ago, in the company of indecisive rain and poncho-clad relatives, I brushed my tassel across my navy cap and graduated from Ithaca college with a writing degree. I now have a diploma, or rather, a diploma holder that states I am indeed a BA…Bachelor of Arts, that is.
Before this moment, I did my best to prepare for the post-grad slump, the big, academia-trained slap in the face, the sooooo what now question everyone and their second cousin once removed feels obligated to ask you. But after months of feeling fuzzy and frazzled and fresh out of adjectives, I didn’t want to do anything other than smile when I walked across the quad one last time because I felt oh so perfectly uncomfortable in my shapeless gown and drooping cap.
I know discomfort sounds dismal and all too familiar with the downtrodden, but lately, I’ve found that discomfort is actually an optimist’s, or better yet a gallivanter’s new super food. Blow avocados when you can feed on something else that gives you no reason to feel safe and and every reason to fall, plummet, stumble into the great unknown.
These small pockets of discomfort that dip and crescendo with each breath I take give me faith that there’s a reason it’s not called the terrible unknown, that comfort is not nearly as beautiful as sprouting wings, which sounds like an initially uncomfortable and physically-painful thing.
I will not know what lasting comfort is until Sallie Mae, who is most likely immortal, kicks the bucket and Bernie sits on the Iron Throne, finally ending this brutal game of loans.
So in the spirit of uncovering the spectacular skeleton that makes up the looming force that discomfort is, I will be buying a one-way ticket to Kraków, Poland, a place that inspires me endlessly, this coming September. In this breathtaking city, where art is a sustaining life force, I plan on writing, teaching, living, and loving a beautifully uncomfortable life. I’m doing this because post-run naps on hammocks often give birth to wonderfully dangerous ideas and because I can’t call myself a BA until I climb into opportunity’s highest window, earning some bumps, bruises, and alarmed glances along the way.
But before September comes, there are plenty of other punching moments to experience that are sure to leave me gobsmacked and even more sure of a universal truth that has become deeply personal:
Discomfort kicks in long before the loans do so take the risk and dance along this bumpy road with comfort’s worst enemy because it’s our best shot at living a life worth writing about.
So cheers to my fellow gobsmacked gallivanters. We have a hard climb ahead but the rain is indecisive and those we love are already wearing ponchos so if we make a mess of things in our stumbling pursuits, let it be because we sprouted wings in the most uncomfortable way possible.