One of the perks of having a roommate who works in the university registrar’s office is getting to find out what you got for grades the moment they’re handed in. The deadline was last night at midnight, and Sam was able to check my grades today.
A and A.
4.0 a second time in a row.
As soon as I saw it on the computer screen, I became the total loser who was crying at work.
I kind of knew I had it in the bag. I mean, Dr. S gave me perfect scores on every paper that he gave back to me. Granted, the three that I didn’t get back (because it was the end of the semester) were all the biggest, most important papers…but I had a feeling I wouldn’t completely bomb them, which is what I would have had to do to not get the A.
But it never gets old, it really doesn’t. I can’t wait until I actually see the grade on the website, see what my new cumulative GPA is, and can actually go public about it.
Timing is everything. And timing might be very fitting, really. Sometimes, having a good memory can be difficult. I had a historian’s brain long before I set out to be a historian. Dates, to me, are very important. “It’s just another day” doesn’t register. No, it isn’t just another day. It is the only day of its kind, it will never pass this way again. I remembered, Friday night, that Saturday, May 18th, 2013, would have been my five year dating anniversary with David.
On my way to the bar Friday night, for Samantha’s graduation party, I drove alone, and I listened to music, and I thought. Usually when I’m in the car and listening to music, I think about loss. I think about the things that aren’t, the things that should have been, and what can never be now. I don’t usually drive, and think “Yeah, I’m good.” Except last night, I did.
Part of it was due to a well-timed text from my close friend Kim, telling me how “fucking proud” she was of me for getting that 4.0. Part of it was because I was thinking about how I had rocked my C25K run the day before. These are things I didn’t do before. This is not the person I was going to be, when I was married to David.
Don’t get me wrong. The years I spent with David, from May 2008 to September 2011, were the best of my life, hands down, at least thus far. They filled me up in a way nothing had before. I was deliriously happy with him. Because he made me happy. Not because I made myself happy. And then September happened, and the year and a half of indecision…and then the decision came, and I had to make myself happy.
I found myself. I found things that made me happy, instead of him making me happy. I went back to school. I might have gone back anyway, if I’d been with David, but probably not, because he was never that concerned about it. If I had told him I wanted to go back, he would have backed me to the hilt, but I don’t think he would have pressured me to do so, and I probably would not have. Running? Hell no. I was good enough the way I was, right? Overweight, out of shape, I was fine, right?
But look at me now. Look what I’ve done. I don’t say this to brag, I’m not trying to be immodest. But for so long I have been thinking about everything I lost, everything I wouldn’t have. A husband, security, a family, a house. And that’s not true. It will happen. Just not right now. Someday, with the right person. But not right now, because the time isn’t right.
It doesn’t even matter. Look at me now. Look at all the things I had convinced myself I couldn’t do, that I am doing now.
Five years ago, I was happy with C’s. I was just trying to keep my head afloat at school. Straight A’s? 4.0? HA. But I did it. Not once, but twice. Two semesters in a row. I could never even conceive of that when I was 24 years old. Not even on the radar. But I did it! Twice! And at a time in my life when everything was caving in, everything felt like it was falling apart. As Jess said earlier, “It was a crap situation but you adjusted and totally BAMFed it.”
Running. I was never a runner. And now I go to the gym three times a week and I run my little heart out. Even though Dr. L told my parents, back in 2005, that I should never do any high impact sports anymore, even though he said my body was prematurely aging because of the trauma of the accident. I listened way too long, to those voices of doubt, that told me that I was too beat up and broken to do physical activity. I’m done with that. I’m going to finish training, I’m going to get to the point where I can run 5Ks, and I’m going to go further. I’m going to listen to the words my father said to me, when he heard the doctor’s words: “Don’t let anyone limit you.”
Because there are no limits.
I have looked, way too long, at what I have lost. It’s really easy to do, in the dark of the night, going to bed by myself, or driving down a long stretch of highway when a familiar song comes on the radio.
But what I have lost is equal to, if not less than, what I have gained. What I have. What I am going to be.
And I drove, and I cried, and I thought about everything I have done, everything I have accomplished, since I left David in November of last year. Look at what I have done. Look at what else I’m going to do. I don’t know if anyone understands how much these things mean to me — getting straight A’s, running a 5K, climbing Mt. Washington a third time, graduating with my Master’s. I look at pictures on FB of my friends who were graduating this weekend, and I thought to myself, that’s going to be me within the year.
It is. I believe it.
Look what I’ve done. Look what I’ve gained. Look how beautiful this all is.