change, time

Beautiful: Who I Was When the Cicadas Were Last Here

Today I’m grateful for cicadas. Yes, cicadas. I recently read an article that analyzed our political world the last time the cicadas were among us. (It’s sadly very similar.) That got me thinking about my own life 17 years ago. I’m proud to say I’ve come a long way, baby! And that happily some wonderful things in my life are still the same. 

17 years ago, I was 20 years old and had just finished my sophomore year of college. I had been thinking all year of transferring to a different college (Northwestern) and decided against it because I finally found my pack at Penn in the theatre community. I had just costume designed my first theatre production – 42nd Street. A year later, I would be elected as Chair of my theatre group – Quadramics Theatre Company. I made plans to move to Arts House Living Learning Program, another place where I would find my groove and make my home for the next two years. I began to turn my attention to my life post-Penn, and decided to pursue a career in theatre in some shape or form.

Personally, I had just left a 2-year relationship with my boyfriend at the time. There would be some hefty fall out from that but it also gave me a tremendous sense of freedom to be out of a relationship that began to feel burdensome and lacked authenticity. My adventures in love continued, and continue to this day, though I’ve never lost hope. He’s getting here as fast as he can, whoever “he” is. I believed that then and I believe that now.

I went home that summer and it would be the last time that I’d ever go to my childhood home for any reason other than to visit. I didn’t know that then, but it became clear to me by the end of the summer that my life was taking me elsewhere. I worked three jobs – as a cocktail waitress (I was a terrible waitress), a restaurant hostess at the Ground Round (I was good at greeting and seating), and an assistant to a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch (I was very good at research and I loved being able to help people be more financially secure.) I really needed the money to continue to self-fund my education at Penn and I was motivated to learn as much as I could about business as I sensed that my career, even in theatre, would require those skills.

It makes my head spin to think how different my life was then. I feel financially and personally secure now. That dream came true. It also amazes me how similar I am to that 20-year old woman. What I value most – people, service, and learning – is largely unchanged. Then, my greatest wish was to be useful, to do something that would be important for other people. 17 years later, I’m still hard at work on that mission, and I imagine that when the cicadas pay us a visit next time I’ll still be plugging away at it one day at a time.

I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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