October has almost come and gone without so much as a word from me; sadly, August and September were much the same. This semester is very different from the rest, and as my last few backpack-wearing, textbook-buying, essay-writing months start winding down, I expect the busy-ness of my life to only intensify. Normally, the more I'm doing/thinking/feeling, the more I blog. Not this time. This time, the doing and thinking and feeling is all too much. There's no room to muster up a bit of extra creativity for creativity's sake.

But somehow, in the eye of the storm, I manage to come back—if only for the sake of my sanity—to empty my head of its collected thoughts. Whether they'll make much sense down on "paper," well, there's really no telling. Bear with me now.

This fall, I've come to realize things about myself that were hard to swallow. My greatest weaknesses, fears, and shortcomings have all been blindingly apparent as of late, and it's in the quiet moments like these (which tend to be few and far between) that they rest most heavily upon my shoulders. Every silent prayer is another apology for some small failure within my day; every last thought seems to bring about questions of how I can do better next time. But each morning, I get up and start again. With a smile on my face and a spring in my step. Because the thing is, little by little, I'm learning what it means to be strong. To own up to my mistakes and accept defeat when it comes. To trust my instincts and stick to my decisions. To have faith in myself, even when those decisions lead to a dead end. That's what growing up is all about, no?

These are the days, exhausting and exhilarating, that I'll look back on and miss. I'll remember the grueling schedule, the utter uncertainty, and the helpless lack of control. The constant daydreams of traveling abroad, the 3am bedside chats with my longtime roommate, the small pile of Verily magazines on the coffee table, and the beginning of a beautiful and unexpected journey alongside someone special. All en route to grander visions, all completely worth fighting for.

When I think about this short 'I-don't-know' phase of my life, I'll remember the potential it had. Of a life brand new with possibilities, and a wondrous future waiting to unfold.

Photo by Aaron Burden.