When Time Slips Through Your Fingers

I blinked, and it was December.

Without knowing it was happening, three full months have passed me by. The cool breezes of September, the leaves glittering from green to gold, fell easily into the chilly and bare arms of October. November, autumn's addendum, the odd meeting of fall and winter, stood resolute, and dispersed quicker than the rest.

Now, less than three weeks until Christmas, and less than two until the culmination of my first semester of graduate school, I'm desperately trying to parse and catalog the moments of this blur.

Perhaps it's the strangeness of this New England season. A week into December, and not a single snowflake to be found — and I just took many, many knocks on wood. The continuous rhythm of frosty evenings warming under the afternoon soon has created a foundation, a pattern, to my every day.

In an attempt to regulate the unfamiliar and somewhat scary terrain of graduate school — of any new ambition in life — the creation of a well-worn pattern is always helpful. My days are almost always planned out: oatmeal for breakfast; variations of classes, work, internships; calling my dad on my way to campus, and my mom on the way home. In theory, these systematic days provide a necessary structure and unflusterability. And yet, perhaps they are also what cause this unending blur, this constant sameness: a perpetual cycle of days and nights, with little space to play in between.

This is my goal for the rest of December, and for the new year at hand: I need to remember to stay surprised.

And I know that there is irony in that, that remembering to stay surprised is its own form of recurrence and obligation — but sometimes, remaining ready to be astonished and overwhelmed requires a certain wonderful sense of preparation.

I need to do, instead of plan; I need to create, instead of ponder; I need to achieve, instead of doubt.

I am desperate to catch that first snowflake on my tongue, and to breathlessly earn my eight-minute mile.

I need to catch in my extra coin jar and try a new cuisine.

I must write more, creatively and expressively, to puncture the monotony of the day-to-day.

I must remain ecstatic.

The blur has passed, and now, in the clear, crisp light of December mornings, I am here. I am present. Life begins, again and again, with each new moment — let us live it.