Spring in Cleveland is a contradiction within itself. Rather than rays of sun and buds emerging on trees, you get lots of rain and frustratingly cold temperatures. Although the vernal equinox already hit the northern hemisphere, the dresses in my closet are impatiently waiting to be worn again, tights be damned, and eager brunch-goers are checking their weather apps constantly in hopes of outdoor mimosa sipping.
Last Friday morning I found myself en route downtown on the rapid to meet with an academic advisor at my future (and final, at least for undergrad) college. It was a productive day, and I left the advising office feeling more confident than ever about the steps I’ve been taking to sort my life out since last July, and excited about my future adventures in academia.
Sitting alone on public transportation does wonders for the imagination. I’m sure we’ve all been there – we find the perfect song that captures our mood and instantly imagine ourselves in an angsty music video.
On the train ride back home everything hit me all at once. Suddenly the song “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine (from the movie Begin Again, which stars Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo – highly recommend) came on shuffle and I felt like I was being transported. This song, to me, signifies beginnings and endings. I associate a lot of memories with this song, and sitting on the train with the rain beating against the window, taking everything in and staring up at the florescent lights above me – made them all feel so real again. I imagined myself in the backseat of my dad’s car last August belting the song with him and my stepmom as we drove home from dinner, the humid Florida air coming in through the windows. Although we were driving home from dinner it felt like so much more at the time – like I was driving towards a new part of my life.
And I felt like that again on the train last weekend. So much was beginning for me, and the beauty of it was that I was letting it happen. I looked down at the folder that contained my classes for my third year of college and felt a lump form in my throat. “Lost Stars” was still going through my headphones and I pictured the scene at the end of Begin Again where Adam Levine is actually performing the song. Keira Knightley’s character is watching him from backstage and suddenly leaves, and then the camera cuts to her riding her bike through the city with a smile on her face, signifying that she’s finally moving on, and the screen fades to black.
I felt like Keira Knightley’s character while I was sitting on the train. No one talks about how much you have to leave behind in order to become the person you’re supposed to be, and how painful it can be to forge ahead. But that’s part of growing up – realizing that some things in your life – whether it be people or plans – turn out to be lost causes, no matter how much hope you have otherwise. We all want to be capable of controlling what happens to us, but in actuality we never can; we can only control how we react.
It can be scary leaving something, or someone, behind that once meant the world to you. We’ve all struggled with it. But as my friends have told me time after time, it only means that bigger things are coming. And of course they turned out to be right.
The future is always uncertain, but if you let all things happen to you, good and bad, then you’re setting yourself up for potentially beautiful experiences.
As Cheryl Strayed said, put yourself in the way of beauty.
It gets better, I promise. You just have to let it happen.
Until next time,