I’ve been in college for almost a decade now, in one form or another. There are certain stereotypes and expectations which one has for the college coed, expectations I have never particularly met, such as a social life. My social life at the University consists of green builders’ meetings, sangha meetings, women’s commission meetings, the occasional lunch with a friend between classes, and the very, very rare bar-hopping.
Therefore, it is somewhat surreal now, here, to be finding the kind of social life I was always supposed to have - intramural sports, sushi with friends, dates, movie theaters, girls’ night parties, keggers, barbeques, karaoke, cards, ice cream runs, coffee shop music, art galleries, hiking, Dharma talks, movie nights, dance parties, pouring over photographs, and sitting around talking about nothing and everything. I am finding here the sudden expansion of my heart and room for innumerable friends - friends who play academic balderdash, who like photography as much as I do, who ask serious questions and silly questions, friends with broken hearts and open hearts, beautiful minds and crazy wisdom, friends who like strange movies, borrow my stuff and loan me their stuff, friends who like Japanese food, mead, and good pizza, younger and older than myself, male and female (and androgynous), artists and nerds and good people all.
I am starting to understand there are things better than sleep. My precious, protected, sleep cannot compare to getting in at two in the morning after soccer, sushi, and Harry Potter with good friends, one of whom I only met moments before taking him with us. My much vaunted “best skill” can be sacrificed for a girls’ night of dancing, wine, chocolate, and coloring books, or a going away party with firelight, live guitar, and a moonlit horseback ride home. My bed can wait a little longer when I’m being dragged into a banquet, handed a glass of sake, and told to make myself at home. Curfew can be ignored (until the Kasung find us) when someone has new photographs to look through or an insight into the Dharma to explore.
Spending a night at home with a good book, curling up together to watch a movie, or taking an afternoon nap is still as beautiful as it always was. I like to sit quietly in the courtyard and watch the people go by or sleep in on a lazy Sunday morning. I look forward to those things more partly because I know that after I can wander down and find someone to go play pool with at the Pot Belly.
I wonder what I’ll do when I get home to Nebraska?