For the first time in 18 years, the first week of September had no meaning to me. It came and went with no new shoes and sweaters, no scribblers, no fresh start.
It’s been looming over me for the past month now, ever since the back to school flyers started arriving in my mailbox, serving as a weekly reminder of my permanent adult state.
I can’t bring myself to drive by my old university campus, or to change my homepage to something other than my school’s site. What would I possibly change it to? Where do I belong now?
The truth is, I belong to myself now. I am responsible for what happens next, what path my life takes, not some professor with the mark of her pen.
It seems so infinite, which is what scares me the most. In school, I always had semesters and summer jobs to look forward to, always knowing that each would come to an end eventually, and I had no control over when they did.
I’ve lived my life on deadlines, always looking ahead to what’s next, always planning for my next chapter, never appreciating what I have in the moment. Now I have everything: a beautiful apartment, an amazing boyfriend, an incredible job in my field, and a kitty that cuddles me every evening when I read my book.
But for some ridiculous reason, all I can think of is the next step: what will I be doing in five years, when will I get married, where will I live? But it’s not just thoughts; it’s worry and doubt that run through my mind, causing me to ignore all these beautiful things I have now.
I often catch myself staring out my office window at the house next door. There’s a woman that lives in there with her husband and handful of kids, and I’m jealous; jealous of the haphazard way she goes about her day, living according to her 4 year old’s schedule. I look over at her and think how simple her life is, caring for her kids. But the other day, as I took a break from work and gazed out my window, I saw her standing on the porch of her lovely home, looking bereft and staring up at me on the third floor, a hint of envy in her eyes.
I wish I had perspective and was able to recognize that everything I’ve worked toward is a reality, that the life I’ve spent the past four years preparing for is now mine. I wish I was able to go back to being that confused freshman student just for a moment, so I could see how far I’ve come.
Five years ago, when TJ and I were just about to graduate from high school and start the next big step in our lives, he decided he’d try his hand at cooking. He wanted to impress me, so he chose, of all things, Fettuccine Alfredo. To be honest, it was kind of dreadful. The sauce was chunky and cold, and the pasta was undercooked. It meant the world to me that he tried, so I smiled and ate it nonetheless.
Neither of us have dared to make it since, so now that we’re entering another chapter of our lives, I thought it was about time to try it again. The base of the recipe is from an old issue of Canadian Living, but I added more butter and some broccoli to mix things up.
wooden cutting board
large kitchen knife
12 oz fettuccine pasta
2 cups broccoli
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook pasta in large pot of salted, boiling water for 7 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes. To prevent noodles from sticking together, pour 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in the water beforehand.
Drain and return to the pot, removed from heat. In medium saucepan, heat butter and whipping cream. Whisk thoroughly and bring to a boil. Reduce head and whisk in salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.
Add sauce to pasta and broccoli, toss, and serve with added parmesan cheese on top.
*Edit* After receiving a concerned phone call from my sister claiming this recipe is too salty for her taste, I have realized an unfortunate typo; rather than the 1/2 cup salt listed on the original post, the recipe in fact calls for 1/2 teaspoon. Let’s hope she was the only chef who followed my advice blindly (I am trying my hardest not to make fun of her right now).