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The Flip Out Year
Plot doesn't make sense, but the title works with this blog.
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Michael's youngest daughter is in college, a freshman, living away from home for the first time ever.  She didn't do what other high school students have done--travel extensively on her own during each and ever summer or spend a semester in Tunis or Normandy.  She lived in the same city for her entire life and then one later summer day drove with her mother up the country and was plopped down in her new life.

Mom goes home, school starts, and then she's just supposed to flow into everything with aplomb.

I am sure there are students out there who can--and people who can be one place and then another just like that with no struggle to adapt.  Fired?  Hired?  Married?  Divorced?  Tulsa to Manhattan?  San Francisco to Des Moines?  So what.  These folk move into the next day as if it were just the next day and not the next day full of nothing that was the same.

Freshman year is notorious for flip outs.  As a teacher, I've had many students come to my college after one year far away at intense universities.  They sit in the back of the class, trying to find their breaths. 

There is often a great deal of drinking going on and eating, too.  My ex-spouse used to tell me that his female friends all grew "dorm butt" their first year in school.  I missed the dorm butt experience because I lived in an apartment and ate generic tuna.  But I get the point.  Eat because all else is out of control.

When I decided to leave my husband, I embarked not on a transition year, but a transition four years.  I really felt it finally end, too, about six months ago.  The transition door closed.  I looked around my office one day and realized with not a small amount of surprise that I felt like going to a meeting.  I signed up for a class.  I called up some people I hadn't seem much of and reconnected.  I settled down into the new life I'd started four years earlier.  I'd flipped out for four years, and I was back down on the floor.  In a better place on the floor.  But on the floor nonetheless.  Let me tell you this--the floor feels good.

But I learned from that last change to not hold onto the floor so tightly.  If my life seems about to change now, I let go.  I don't cling to what I know because it will hurt more when it's wrested from me as I sail up into the ether.  My writing career is changing.  where I live may or may not change soon, as we will have to figure out where to buy or not to buy.  If I hold onto the floor, I am going to break my fingernails and maybe even my hands.  For years, I hung on so tightly to what I knew because I was afraid of the view.  And trust me, you need a parachute up there.  But you can make it back down though it takes time to land.

I don't know what Michael's daughter is holding on to, but I hope she can let go, let herself sail up into her life, the one she can't see from the floor.




2 Comment count
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Yes, that's a great term . . .

"Flipping out." I guess I flipped out in college and then some. Didn't realize that's what I did until you named it.

Ever since I came back from China at age 30, I've had ballast and nothing really seems to change much. My friends marry, divorce, have children, get new boyfriends/girlfriends, move to new cities, but my life remains the same. And this is the way I've want it. I am like the 60 pound round of cheese at deli on display. It gets green with age, but no one wants to move it. Yet, I know things WILL change, whether I like it or not.

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That's the darn

That's the darn truth--things will change, whether you like it or not.

And that's what we have to figure out!

What were you doing while you flipped out? I can't see you with any kind of dorm butt.


Jessica Barksdale Inclan