My graduate program has finally come to an end. My 140 page thesis is signed, sealed, and being delivered to the university. Now what? I literally don’t ever have to go back to school again if I choose not to. School is all I know. I have to learn how to teach myself new things without the help of a mentor. I actually have free time. I can come home from work, sit on the couch, and watch crappy TV if I feel like it. I can read any book my heart desires. I’ve dedicated myself to reading the books my mentors have suggested for the past two years. I have 40 books in my bookshelf that have been untouched because I’ve been too busy reading other books. I vow to not spend money on another book until I’ve read everything in my bookshelf.
This new life I am starting, school-free, stress-free (hopefully) has got me thinking quite a bit about how I want to spend the rest of my life. I need to form new goals, start new activities and hobbies, learn something interesting. It’s impossible to be a writer when I’m doing the same boring thing every day. I need to take risks, and I need to learn how to relax. Here are some of the things I’d like to experience now that I have the time. I guess you can call it my bucket list.
1. Travel to places on the west coast.
I don’t know how long I’ll be living on this side of the country, so I best experience as many places on this side as I can, and at an affordable cost.
Hiking on mountains, swimming in warm water, and sipping Margaritas on the beach.
Sam already booked this trip for the end of June! I’m excited, but I already have a headache just thinking about it.
Since Sam attends the University of San Francisco (Orange County campus), we will be taking a few extra days next May for his graduation week.
While I’m over here, I do need to see Seattle. I don’t care how rainy it is.
I realize that Tokyo is an entirely different country and is not actually considered the West Coast, but it’s at the top of my list of places to visit. Traveling from LAX to Tokyo is much more affordable than if I was still living in New Hampshire. With the right saving, and plenty amount of time to prepare, I’d like to accomplish this. It’s only $800 round trip if you plan a year in advance!
2. Learn a new language.
I’ve always wanted to be fluent in another language. I’ve only ever achieved the intermediate levels but that’s it. I started off with Spanish in middle school, but to be honest, it didn’t interest me like it does now. French in high school was decent, and then German in college. One time in NYC, Sam and I were eating breakfast while a German couple with their toddler son sat next to us. The little boy turned to me and said, “Hallo!” I got so excited because I knew what he was saying. I began asking him how he was, and when I left, he yelled, “Tschuss!” This made me want to learn the entire language fluently. It seems everyone else in the world knows multiple languages, but for some reason, it doesn’t stick with us Americans.
3. Take up a sport
I’m in the process of training for my Chicago Marathon in October but I need to find other ways of getting outside to exercise than just jogging. I want to keep up paddle boarding, play more volleyball, or get back into dancing. There’s a small dance studio within walking distance of my apartment that I’ve gazed at on and off. And I’ve always wanted to take up yoga!
4. Art Projects
I spent most of my high school days painting, drawing, and scribbling. I certainly miss it. I’d like to spend my free time coming up with art projects for myself. I never want my creativity to fade.
I can hear my family laughing all the way from New Hampshire. I’d like to think that once the Chicago Marathon is over, I’ll have the time to give all of my attention to a puppy. It’s on my Christmas wish list.
Of course, I may not be realistic about this list considering I now have to pay my student loans. I’ve been living in Fairy Tale Land the past two years because of deferment, but it’s all over now.
Now that my thesis is sent, I can put all of my energy in finishing up Issue 11 of Mason’s Road, and focusing on my seminar and student reading in July before graduating. These past two years went by so quickly, and I’d love to share my MFA experience with you all soon!