I'm looking out the window at the glassy grey-blue expanse and am surprised when my heart catches in my throat. It’s a visceral reaction, and my chest clenches up with pangs of sad-gladness to see this familiar sight once again.
It’s Friday evening, and I'm on a train home to the Bay Area after spending weekdays as an intern at the State Capitol in Sacramento. I was here last summer too, and found myself lucky enough to come back as a Matsui Fellow through UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies. It's been a productive, thought-provoking, and happily challenging time back at the Capitol. I've been doing what I love, which is writing, and I'm writing about new topics that I learn about each day, which is a treat for my always-hungry mind.
It’s Friday evening, and I'm in transit, moving from Central to Coast in less than two hours. I’m in motion, yet feel oddly frozen in time. I’m in this phase of in-betweenness, shuttling from past to future, future to past, work to home, what is and what could be.
It feels transitional in a way I wish I could articulate, this train ride. I'm halfway done with my undergraduate education, and feel the weight of the future approaching every day. I feel the anxieties of knowing that soon I will be job searching, or pursuing a higher degree. Soon, but not quite yet, I will be making serious decisions about how to move my life forward.
This sense of transient in-betweenness, as I sit on Amtrak watching Netflix over the surprisingly nice wifi, hits me strong and suddenly as I look out the window and see water. For twenty years, this glassy grey-blue sight has been the backdrop of my life -- I grew up with it like a roof over my head and the ground beneath my feet. I hadn't realized how much I’d missed it.
So I'm thinking about where I'm going. The direction, you know. I’m moving through college and don’t know where I will live or work or settle down once it’s over. Even after my short time so far in Sacramento, I’ve thought of how I could build a life here one day, to have a career that is meaningful and the space to find what I want. I like the massive skies, and the blooming gardens on Capitol grounds. I like all the hipster coffee. Waking up to sunshine instead of fog is an adjustment, but not a bad one. And in the end, the bay is just a quick train ride away.
I realize also that it’s a big world, so much bigger than a Bay Area versus Sacramento frame of mind. My only goal is to be writing and learning wherever I go, be it in Washington, D.C. this fall or on an international adventure in the future.
Although I do have a feeling that the State Capitol hasn’t seen the last of me yet.