I woke up this morning thinking about my job at BYU Independent Study. Ya know, the one I gave up to "travel the world" about 3 months ago. (3 months ago? What the?!??!?).
Does that ever happen to you? You suddenly wake up in the morning with a thought already in your head? It's as if you've walked in, in the middle of your own conversation - only just catching the last bit of a phrase or thought. Actually I even felt like I had woken up halfway through a sentence..."and that's why we don't give out student information..." The memory was vivid and as the mind can do in an instant - all the faces and good people I'd interacted with at BYU IS suddenly flashed through my mind - like a slide show set on "super-speed" flash forward. Inter-mixed with the familiar faces were snippets, almost snapshots, of familiar areas in the Harmon Building where I worked: Lauren's Desk and her "special chair for special people", the Tutor cubicles, Caye's Office, Rachael's work station, the breath taking mountain view out of my office space windows that never grew old - never grew routine, the sun rising at 7:25am over the peaks, the bustle of "testing" employees beginning to arrive, Teri coming by carrying her lunch and offering an always cheery "good morning" as she strolled by, Joseph and his sarcastic remarks, friends peaking over my cubicle wall to see what I was up to, Naomi's sardonic and wonderfully entertaining emails, SPARK, and the dozens of little employees coming back to ask questions or change their schedule or tell me about their life. All of these details passed through my mind in an instant - and left me clearly nostalgic - but also rather melancholy and empty.
As I crawled out of bed, rather immersed in these new and sudden feelings of nostalgia for a place I dearly came to love and no longer part of my everyday, I began to remember even more details, more little "routines" and catch phrases that created the "every day" of BYU IS. It's so rare to find a place you love working, even with it's own little ups and downs, with good people you enjoy working with, in an atmosphere that's overall welcoming and progressive. I started to think of my quiet mornings from 6am-8am - when it was me and my handful of employees at a wee hour - just trying to wake up and start the day. I thought of how shamefully I would buy a Diet Coke from the...oh what was that place called...I can see the label in my head...Oh! The Crest Station...and a pack of hostess crunch (can I tell you I always have called them crumb doughnuts? Crunch? There's not crunch! But many a crumb) doughnuts for my morning "pick-me-up." Luckily - by starting the morning out so unhealthily - I was motivated to be healthy and even exercise later that day. Is there a name for that? Disgusting Calorie over-load reverse psychology? Just plain nausea and shame? Maybe a combo. Anyway, upon remembering this "early morning" tradition - I resolved to try and bring back some of that feeling of "home" I finally felt at BYU IS, this morning. Yes. That would life my Spirits and solve the hungry nostalgia that had so sneakily bombarded me first thing this morning.
However- even when I bought the "crunch" doughnuts from the vending machine and swigged a Diet soda - it just wasn't the same. True - I still feel shamefully nauseated at what I'd just consumed. True - I feel like for the rest of the day I should eat salad greens and drink purified water - but it didn't fulfill that little void, heal that tiny little ache, that BYU IS had left inside me. It wasn't so much the doughnuts or the soda - but the buying it from the Crest station at 5:55am that I missed. It wasn't the sugary satisfaction or the caffeine ZING that I craved - but my good friends, my little employees, and my sun-lit windows.
The truth is - the doughnuts or the beverage didn't cure my nostalgia like I thought it might. Sometimes I feel like I was taken away from my "Provo life" a little early - like I didn't have time to sit back and thoroughly enjoy finally finding some stability in my job, a good circle of friends, sports nights, and other such lovely little things of life, before it was gone. I guess that's some of the risk of the choices we make - and I did CHOOSE to leave all those things behind for something I'd been dreaming about my entire life. So, you can't blame me for leaving, can you? Childhood dreams and fairytale wishes is a fairly GOOD reason to take a risk. Though, in the end, the dreams ended up evaporating in the light of day - as dreams tend to do -and as it turns out, fairy tales are just that...fairy tales. Though - I've never been one to completely give up on the whimsical... as much as reality tries to make me.
You can, perhaps, blame me for not loving what I had when I had it, when it was "right there" and finally feeling good - feeling comfortable - feeling like I finally belonged again - feeling like home. What I wouldn't give to feel like "home" again.
And no more of those early morning doughnuts.