Friday, April 29, 2016

Cliff-side Considerations

With only one week of classes and three days of finals left before summer, I've been spending more time than ever dancing along cliffs. Literally and metaphorically. 

I've walked while the afternoon sun beat down on my hat and while only the moon and iPhone cameras lit the dirt path. I've chatted with friends as we watched the sunset and sassily mouthed along with music streaming from my headphones. I've been happy, sad, tired, renewed and everything in between. 

Cliff-side considerations from a gluten free college celiac at sunset cliffs
Casual sunset photo shoot...
And as another cliff looms closer - graduation in only one more semester - I've been hit by a few cliff-side considerations

First, it's nearly impossible to ever be truly alone. As older friends prepare to graduate and everyone bunkers down for finals week, loneliness has been a common visitor to my apartment. Last weekend was no exception: everyone was busy, but my feet begged for adventure. So, for the first time in months, I ventured down to Sunset Cliffs without company.

Cliff-side considerations from a gluten free college celiac at sunset cliffs
Sailboat in the distance...
Except, even as I walked by myself, company surrounded me. Norwegian tourists muttering (hopefully complimentary) comments about Point Loma's shore. Surfers climbing out of the sea, wetsuits plastered on like second skins. Even a sailboat enjoying the sunny afternoon. All breathing in the same sea air and feeling the same scorching sun as me. 

Along that walk, like my many others, I read the inscribed metal plaques on each cliff side bench. Some quote movies -  "Because...this is America!" - while others boast a dark, sarcastic humor. The first time my friend and I spotted the words "I'm going for it..." we felt vaguely horrified. Did someone really fall off the cliffs (as has even known to happen) with those final words

Cliff-side considerations from a gluten free college celiac at sunset cliffs
The fated bench...
Even after realizing snarky humor decorates nearly every bench, that one sign stuck in my mind. Because I wouldn't mind those last words. I wouldn't mind being able to incite laughs even after I'm gone. In fact, if I'm remembered for anything, I'd like it to be in loving, head-shaking, knee-slapping laughter

While I'm here, though, the cliffs gave me something new to remember: that I have better sense of direction than I take credit for. 

Cliff-side considerations from a gluten free college celiac at sunset cliffs
Afternoon adventure!
Usually I walk down and along the cliffs one way and then put my legs in reverse to get back to school. No turns to make, no mistaken routes to take. Last week, though, Natalie and I decided to take the suburban short cut back: up hill street (which is verrrrry aptly named - talk about a butt workout) and one right turn onto campus. Only I didn't know what turn exactly...but we got back just fine anyway. 

Maybe the cliffs of next semester and graduation are similar twists and turns. And maybe, just like our walk back to campus, they'll be full of up-hill climbs, doubtful turns and detours. All of which lead to the place I need to be. 

Cliff-side considerations from a gluten free college celiac at sunset cliffs
At least the cliffs come with a warning sign...
Right now, though, my future looks about as clear as the ocean on a windy evening. I don't know exactly how I'll keep myself busy during my light 12-unit final semester. I don't know what grad school I'll end up attending - or even what state I'll live in. 

But perhaps the best way to prepare for the future is by doing nothing but sitting on the cliffs with a friend, watching the sunset and listening to the waves. Talking about whatever pops in our minds. Staying too late so we stumble back to campus bathed in rays of indigo, pink and gold. 

Not planning, over-analyzing or fearing what hides beneath the waves. Just enjoying the water rise, crash and repeat. 

Cliff-side considerations from a gluten free college celiac at sunset cliffs
One of many sunset photos!
Because while the peeking into the unknown feels scary, it's also a promise of adventures to come. Of a summer spent searching for - and hopefully working at - an internship. Of helping my family move from California to Colorado. Of a last semester spent as an out-of-state student spending weekends exploring Point Loma for likely the last time. 

And for even more walks along the cliffs - and the thoughts that keep me company during them. 



Do you have any big life changes approaching? Do you reflect or learn from your walks? Comment below! 


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