I find it very interesting how your view of a place can completely change, yet stay the same.
For pretty much my entire life I have come to Rhode Island for at least a few weeks plus numerous weekends through out the summer. Thoughts of summer time and the beach still, and probably always will, contain images, scenes, scents, impressions, and experiences associated with Rhode Island- specifically the area near Newport where my Grandfather's tiny beach house was and where my mother is now building/completing a more modern house to accomadate our family which is now more fully grown. I spent some of the day with my mom, over at the new house, next door to the house that was my Grandfather's on the beach. My mom was picking out tile and paint for the new place and I am sure she was imagining with excitement what the place will look like when construction is completed in the not too distant future.
I was struck with a few different thoughts at our little stretch of beach, for one thing how much things had changed. The houses on our own little part of the beach were bigger and more modern than before and certainly more expensive looking. Down the beach where I had wasted away many summer hours walking with my brothers and my dad, looking for rocks and shells, or maybe just sitting and watching sailboats go by, was now being developed into million dollar homes. Some of that area had once had the rusting metal hulk of the bankrupt Pearson Yacht factory behind it, but there was something quaint and untouched, which I can sense being traded in for a more asthetically pleasing gloss of luxury, but a somehow hollow sense of commercialism and absentee owners who will never appreciate the beach the way (the more admittedly poorer) families full of kids who grew up coming to this beach will.
In some ways the situation at the beach models the way I am feeling about my own life. Feeling I am at a bit of an impasse, a time to make decisions about what my next move is going to be after school. Much like the changes on the beach, no single decision is purely good or bad- they all have advantages and drawbacks, opportunities and sacrifices, risks and sure things.
Looking at the beach I see exposed stone wall in front of my Grandfather's house that my brothers and I built with my dad, he paid us 50 cents for a bucket of small stones or a $1 for a large rock which we carried up from the beach at low tide, making our own makeshift sea wall. Next door at my mom's new house there is a professionally built seawall, made of massive boulders and arranged in such a fashion as to withstand a hurricane. On the one hand the new wall has none of the memories that the old one does, but it ensures that the house next door will be protected to make new memories.
The decisions about school and about life are similar. Do I use the past as a guide? What risks do I take to ensure that the future will provide the best quality of life and career down the road? What do you give up in order to set up something new? What is important to me?
I don't have all the answers yet, and for me- maybe more than other people- they are tough decisions to make.