Sunday, May 17, 2015

Climbing the Ivy

Today is Ivy Day at Smith College, my alma mater. Yep, that one on the right? That's me... 22 years ago. 
Want to hear something else funny? That dress was a size 18. I had difficulty finding it, because walking into a store and finding clothes in a size 18 was almost unheard-of 22 years ago. I loved LL Bean clothes, because they came up to a 20. 
Yes, my friends, when people fuss about people being 280 pounds, that is what 280 pounds looks like. That is what we consider "fat" in this country.

I dream of being a size 20 now. An 18 seems out of the question. 

I should note some other things in this little throwback. I had known the man who would be my husband about 8 months by this point- the beginning of the fall semester. I had never seen him. We played an online game together, but they were text-based then (I know, so quaint now, but it was awesome- like a living book, being written right in front of you! And you were IN it, and helping WRITE it! I wish people still played those.) 

I was excited to start a new life in Wisconsin. How much colder could it be than New England? (Answer: A WHOLE LOT.)

I was an odd duck in college, but not as much as I was in high school. Most of the folks around me were also odd ducks, which means, of course, they were powerful, awesome people who continue to be powerful, awesome people. I always think about all those awesome people, those women I went through college with, and am astounded that I ever knew them. 22 years later, these women run businesses, schools, libraries, laboratories, political offices. They are not just doctors, lawyers, scientists, writers, artists, teachers- they are among the BEST doctors, lawyers, scientists, writers, artists, and teachers in the world. 
My life isn't exactly what I thought it would be. I had dreams of roaming around India, writing books about religious practices and history. I did manage to get to India, just not as long or often as I dreamed. I spend most of my days talking about art and culture, but not very often about the art and culture of India. 

Most importantly, I have my beautiful family. It isn't the family I imagined, but the amazing, wonderful, beautiful roller-coaster of truth is harder, wilder, more vibrant, and more magical and amazing than I could have ever imagined.

Right now, my son is "forcing" my husband to eat chocolates. They are both roaring with laughter. And hugs. And wonderfulness. 

I will say, I couldn't do what I do if I hadn't had the education and training I got, the friends I have (who are marvelously understanding), the skills I gained at Smith. I hate to think what would have happened to my kids if I didn't have those skills. The true value of a liberal arts education? You can go out and train yourself to deal with anything. You know how to learn.

Happy Ivy Day to all the new alumnae, and all my friends who shared in the wild years.

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