School has begun once again…except not for me. And that’s actually not as strange as I thought it would be. What’s strange is that a lot of my friends still are in school. I have an 8-5 housekeeping job and on nights we don’t have rehearsals they all have homework and I do not (that doesn’t mean I’m not busy with other things 😉 ).

It’s also not so weird that I can consider myself an adult now. I was waiting for that to hit me. Perhaps it’s because I’m going on my fourth year with my own apartment? [My roommate and I moved to a new neighborhood and are setting up an “adult” apartment with an actual table to eat at (now we just need chairs)!] That being said, while I don’t feel strange about not returning to school, I can definitely feel the difference in my life’s pattern and this new chapter of my life. Still, it feels natural and I’ve eased into post-grad life quite well I think.

What’s interesting is that while I do continue to think about my future, now I think more about the present. In school it was all “What’s your plan?” “What are your goals?” “Where do you go once you’re out of here?” And now I’m out and all I can feel is “Well, whatever happens will happen when it happens.” And instead of fretting about where I’m going to be in five years, this Fall I’m actually able to step back and bask in what I’m currently doing. I’m still aware of all I want to accomplish, but if I’m consistently thinking about the next thing, I can’t enjoy that I’m actually living this life.

I’m going on my fifth year living in Chicago. I’m going on my fifth year living with my roommate. I have a job and I pay rent and I take the same bus at the same time every weekday morning and that’s all fine and dandy but then after a rehearsal, or maybe on my way to a bar with members of my combat family, I’m hit with the realization that continues to be realized – that I’m actually here; this is actually my life.

I’m living in Chicago, with a job, doing theatre, with the people that I love. My career consists of playing dress-up and flashing swords. I have made the strongest bonds and I am building a life here, in the city, hours from my hometown. It’s actually happening. I’m not stuck in a desk job (it’s not for me), I don’t have plans to go back to school, I left my home state (not saying I’ll never move back – my Minnesotan pride is pretty strong), and I can do.absolutely.anything. I accomplished what I set out to do and it’s an amazing feeling. I keep waiting for someone to come and say “Ok, time’s up! You’ve had your fun, but the seasons are changing, it’s time to come home now.” But…that’s not going to happen. Nobody’s going to pick me up to take me home because I am home. Will I still call it home in five years? Psh, hell if I know. But I call it home right now, and that puts ribbons in my belly.

I’m currently in a show about famous female pirates from history. I’ve always loved pirates and I’ve always loved swordfighting and I’ve always dreamed of a life on the sea. These past couple months the pirate life has called me home and has helped me feel this absolute liberty of post-grad life. What freedom – the open sea before you, rules of your own making, never being tied down (we’re not going to talk about a captured pirate’s fate, it simply ruins the metaphor). I dream of adventure. And this is just the beginning. Everything I do from here on out will lead me to another adventure, to another place, to another family, to another home. Whether it’s theatre, or ItWorks, or my writing, or any of the other projects I pick up along the way…I hope they lead me to other homes. I have to remember to let them lead me to other homes.

And that’s the trick. Enjoying the here and now while still allowing myself to be led to the future. It’s a fine balance and a tricky one, but I think that as long as you keep your eyes and ears open to sideways opportunities while still taking full advantage of what’s right in front of you, life will have a way of weaving them together.

My fellow combatants, my fellow thespians, my fellow graduates, and just everyone I ever meet…we are so fortunate. We are alive. And sometimes we forget what a glorious thing that is to be. Our blood is burning, our hearts are pumping, and our hands are itching to create, to mold, and to pick apart. It sets my feet on fire and I hope you can say the same. If you’re happy where you are, I hope you remain so. Happiness is a hard thing to find. If you’re not, go find it. Because the adventures you’ll have along the way – even if some are trying and absolutely miserable – are better than remaining stagnant, gathering dust. We weren’t meant to gather dust. We were meant to become alive.

Something calls to every heart. Find out what it is and let it take you home.