post- editors discuss moving on
The leaves are disappearing, the exams are piling up, and the rain is (occasionally) showing itself as snow. For many of us here at Brown, it’s a time whip out the job applications, and start planning for the next chapter of our lives. Post- editors bring you our thoughts on moving on, however that may look.
–Monica Chin, Editor in Chief
I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid.
I am in a weird position wherein I am unsure whether or not I want to graduate, and whether or not I should want to graduate. On the one hand, I have been developing a severe case of senioritis since sophomore year. I am getting to that point that is all-too-familiar from high school, where schoolwork is not necessarily boring, but is not especially inspiring, and seems like a chore more than anything else. When I get home from a long day of meetings and classes, I want to collapse on my couch and watch Monday night football, cook dinner, and let my mind wander as it will. After so many long years of work, I want to live outside of school. I want a home life. At the same time, I love the quads and the patchwork of leaves in the autumns, the snarky people and the knowledge that everything will be okay once I get this paper done, and that no matter how crushing my workload is, there’s always someone else in this library whose workload is worse. I love the camaraderie. I love the certainty that every September, I will be back in a place that I love, among people who know who I am. The exciting and frightening natures of the unknown are pulling me in opposite directions. It’s weird, sad, and exciting all at once. But of course, it doesn’t matter. No matter how I feel about the passage of time, it will pass all the same. I will walk through the Van Wickle Gates in a cap and gown and pretend to smile, and maybe mean it at times. I will scramble left and right to find entry-level jobs throughout the next few years, and things will fall into place. It’s weird to feel like I’m watching my life like a movie, but there’s also a sort of comfort to it. I’m on a ride. We’re all on this ride. It is quite literally the ride of a lifetime.
In 2009, the thirteenth iteration of the Final Fantasy video game franchise emerged. I remember watching the trailer for the title on primetime: flashy clips of pink-haired, sword-wielding warriors hacking and slashing giant cyborgs, interspersed with scenes of high-tech motorbike races and a robotic Ragnarok in the heavens. Unforgettable though the visuals may be from this trailer, it is the accompanying song that most sticks with me—“My Hands” by Leona Lewis. The track, which comes from Lewis’ 2009 album Echo, is a soul-baring, belted ballad that laments how hands never quite forget the touch of the one before. In the chorus, Lewis croons: “My hands / They only agree to hold / Your hands / And they don’t wanna be without / Your hands / And they will not let me go / No they will not let me go.” We learn that despite our efforts to move on, some hands just won’t let us go. A fairly somber prospect at first glance, but if you were to listen to the song though, or play the game—both emblems of hope and triumph—you would realize that these hands are not necessarily holding you back. Rather, what I think Lewis means to say in “My Hands” is that, in order to move on, sometimes you need to grab hold of the hands that let you go and pull yourself back up.
Once in the far away land of New York City, there lived a banker. His name was Chad, as usual in the financial industry. The third week of April in his third year on the job, it was raining. It was also a Tuesday, the lesser-recognized but legitimate worst day of the week, and as Chad trudged to work, briefcase in his hand, a thought interrupted the to-do lists running through his head: Why? He could not grasp the entire thought, but the feeling niggled throughout the week. The week turned into a month, and the month turned into a year, and with little ado Chad was again trudging to work on the Tuesday of the third week of April, but now it was his fourth year on the job, and it was only drizzling, and he’d remembered an umbrella. In fact, that morning he’d given himself a self-congratulatory pat on the back for remembering the weather was predicted to be poor. But whilst trudging to work, his accomplishment felt like anything but, and the thought finally completed itself: Why am I doing this? The completion startled Chad, and he dropped his briefcase abruptly on the concrete. A light ignited in his eyes for the first time in years. He didn’t bother to pick up his briefcase, and strode to the airport. He booked the first flight he could find, arrived in the western part of Montana by that afternoon, and by the end of the week had secured a farm for himself. Well, rather, the land necessary for a farm. Is it really a farm with no animals? And so he set out to find himself some livestock. The neighbors—well, neighbor is a strong word, since they lived roughly 1.34 miles south of Chad—gave him two chickens as a welcome gift. He named them Bear and Bull, in remembrance of his past life, and never looked back. By the end of that year, he’d bought, bartered for, or otherwise garnered all the animals necessary for his idealization of a farm: pigs, chickens, horses, cows, sheep, goats. Chad loved each animal and named them all. The three pigs became Brick, Sticks, and Hay. There were a multitude of chickens since those first two, as Chad rarely ate eggs, though he did enjoy goat cheese regularly. Life on the farm was grand for Chad, but one cow in particular never cooperated. Chad joked that the cow obviously didn’t speak English—the cow must be German, or Austrian perhaps. Unfortunately, Chad did not have a full grasp of how German or Austrian works, and that’s how the cow got its name: Moo Von.
What does that even mean, “moving on”? Where am I supposed to go? I used to think of life as a sidewalk, you know, where the tough parts were cracks that you had to step over. That’s what moving on meant to me, but increasingly I’m realizing that I am never moving forward or backward. I am just always wherever I am, and that is comforting for me. I imagine life more like one of those moving walkway conveyor belt things in airports that let you transport yourself at a fractionally faster pace than regular walking would. Obviously, you can’t really walk backwards, unless you’re trying to do a cheap version of moon-walking or something. It’s also a bit pointless to walk forward, because you can just do that on a regular sidewalk anyway. Like, the ground is moving for you, what are you doing?? Don’t be that business man that urgently pushes through, bruising your knees, your luggage, and your small child (if you have one of those). We’re all getting to the same place, and I’d rather enjoy myself if I can. Sure, that guy will get there maybe one minute before everyone else, but really what’s the point? He’s probably sweatier and more flustered, with a trail of inconvenience left behind him. Put your trust in the moving walkway, and remember that it’s not a sidewalk. Sometimes it’s nice to realize that you’re always exactly where you’re meant to be, that the only thing that exists and that we can reliably count on is the here and the now. Sometimes we need to surrender to the motions.
When my dog died in March this year, my parents’ solution was to buy another dog. They waited until summer and I was home for a week before doing it, of course, so they could claim that the purchase was for me, since I was very close to my previous dog, but I could tell that they also missed the presence of a loyal living creature in their home. They bought a one-month-old puppy, which was probably a bad decision, since my parents are getting old and didn’t quite have the patience required to handle a puppy, but we thought he was cute and so we didn’t think about such logistics. We named him Oliver, or Ollie for short, and he enjoys biting my toes and fingers. He also enjoys peeing in my room, which has carpet but I always cover up the spots with a towel so shh don’t tell my parents. He is a lot more active than my old dog, and he regularly barks when something excites him, such as the air. I saw him for a week at the beginning of summer, where he had brown fur, weighed two pounds, and could fit in a slipper, then saw him for another week at the end of summer, where he had white fur, weighed 12 pounds, and regularly chewed up slippers. I think I look forward to seeing him again this winter break and observing his current color, weight, and relation to slippers. I like Ollie a lot. But I still miss my old dog.
I’m moving on from: Gilmore Girls, Chipotle, my bed, pizza, CS15, contemporary french literature, pizza, my roommate (JK I love you Wendy), being off meal-plan, all forms of social media (who am I kidding?), pizza, CNN commentators (except for Van Jones of course), capitalism, weighing scales, living 15 minutes away from my classes, any hope for an internship next summer, and pizza.