You’ve probably already guessed why I’m writing. With May comes the memory of gowns and the distinct reminder that only a year ago I sat in the same seats that the class of 2017 now finds so exciting. That night grants you not only a degree but a new lease on life. The future is terrifying, but it’s yours all the same. Tonight, 365 days ago, I looked forward to a new tomorrow. I impatiently waited for my life to change.
Today, a year later, I don’t feel inherently different. I thought when I got back home, Cleves would look and feel unfamiliar. It would be like getting an adjusted prescription or putting on sunglasses. I thought there would be something so glaringly new about me that the world would have somehow shifted, but that wasn’t the case. When I pulled into my driveway, my boxes full of moments turned memories, everything was the same. The first day of summer started the same way as every other summer before. I slept in too late, ate cereal for lunch, and lazily watched Netflix. Soon I had settled into the same routine that I had always followed.
This couldn’t be right. There’s no way I didn’t change in college. What about the new friendships and experiences and opportunities? Could they really have come to nothing? Could I really be stuck in the same place that I dreamed of leaving a year ago?
And then it dawned on me. I am not the sum of my lazy summer days. And thank heavens for that! My summer break self has always been and will always be an intense underachiever who eats too much junk food and never changes out of her pajamas. But that’s just part of who I am. It’s me apart from my work and loved ones. It’s the me that only comes around when there is nothing left to do.
So Pajama Hannah didn’t change. Big deal. I’m not always Pajama Hannah. The parts of me that matter the most are the ones that experienced an upgrade: my idea of the world, my work ethic, my sense of humor and confidence. Those are who I truly am.