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Can you hear yourself talking? Sometimes all I hear is the loud noise that comes from your lips. The whining empty words that don’t mean anything, the drift-less thoughts, the sentences just filling up time and space.

I wish I could sing like him. I wish I would take the time to learn how to make music, how to make more beautiful things. I can’t hear myself; I only listen closely to other people. I can hear when you’re not hearing me.

His hair is shorter now and his face is long. I remember the sounds in the room, the stillness of standing alone. My stomach grumbles and she asks me how to make soup. I will dream of it all tonight, music and carving potatoes and sharpening knives in the tiny, dirty kitchen.

When I wake up she is still here. A lot of people have disappeared, somehow. I am grinning and my jaw hurts. He tells me stories about the bay and people who ride bicycles. I imagine all of the roads I will have to drive on between here and there. Where will all of my books go, all of my stories?

I have so much to say, but he is not the one to say it to; I know, I’ve read the list of approved questions and answers. I have met him before over the years, I can see him and hear him well. My guitar is leaning against the wall; it’s ready to go, it’s waiting, too. Beautiful and terrible things and people just want more of everything even if you don’t have any to share.

The conversation goes on without me. He is singing in the background of my head and I’m not paying attention. Are you always this quiet? They ask, they are the same people, I have met them all before, I will meet them all again, I will love them until they don’t say enough.

She is eating a cheese sandwich somewhere on the other side of the world. She finally found a girl who will laugh at her jokes. She speaks softly and wants more for you than what you have. I want to be strong like her someday, I want my strumming hand to be strong, I want him to smile in photographs.

He is a straight boy with dyed black hair and thin lips. He looks like a mass murderer, really, but he’s wonderful. She swears to me she won’t talk to him today, but she does, she does, she does. I send her pictures of flowers and we talk about things that are important and I don’t feel guilty afterward like I’ve done something bad.

It seems like everyone good will end up there with me. You know how to tell the difference by now, don’t you? What good is growing older if we can’t shake their hand and see the outcome? But that is why you and I are not the same, that is why I love the people that I do, that is why you’re staying there and we’re leaving here.

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You think about him on the drive home between the spurts of howling along with Father John Misty; “chateau lobby,” you croon together. You need to get out more, that’s probably all it is. Seven minute conversations seem so much more important and meaningful than they are when you haven’t had a conversation of any amount of minutes in months. Are your headlights actually on? You’re not really sure, driving your mom’s expensive car with both hands clutching the steering wheel like it’s a driver’s training session. You can see well enough anyway, and you can’t risk removing a hand to fiddle with the strange knobs sticking out from behind the wheel.

“You took off early to go cheat your way through film school!”

Misty’s singing the same song over and over because you just bought it on iTunes and are still in that particular phase of new-song-listening. By the 30th time you’ve pretty much got the lyrics down.

It doesn’t feel like anything, particularly. His blue eyes or green or whatever are far north now and you’re not trying to chase them down. But it is sad in a way, like the grocery bag boy, forgotten about a few hours later after a brief rush of love. There is a person there. You can be apathetic all you want, but it’s still true.

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1. I’ve never believed anyone when they said it couldn’t be done.

2. My spirit animal is sticky velcro dots. Those things are amazing.

3. Love where you are, or leave. Love the people around you, or find new people.

4. You might be a grammar nerd if a stylishly placed comma in an email makes you a little bit gleeful.

5. If Hell exists, I bet it is in the middle of a never-ending casino filled with old people pushing slot machine buttons over and over again and grinning wildly.

6. Remember Adele?

7. Every additional person you love takes a small part of your heart with them when they leave you. You’re never a whole person until you’re surrounded by every single person that you love.

8. They say friendships are give-and-take. Right? So if you find yourself doing all –and I mean all– of the giving, it can’t really be a friendship. Maybe it was once. Not anymore. Let it go.

9. I’ll say it again: Only you find your pet stories hilarious. Only I find my pet stories hilarious. Some things, you just can’t share with other people. Or, at least, you shouldn’t.

10. Saying what you mean is sometimes the hardest thing to do on the planet.

Today I was talking to my friend about graduating college – a thing he and I both are going to experience here pretty soon – May 5th, 2013, to be exact. He was telling me his post-graduation plans, and I was keeping quiet about my own. I don’t really know yet where I’m going go, what I’m going to do. I also told him that the more college classes I take, the less intelligent I feel.

I think there’s a lot of different ways you can take that statement. It can mean that I’ve realized how unintelligent I am, or how bad at college I am – But that’s not what I meant.

I meant that the more college classes I take – the more information I take into my brain, the more subjects I get exposed to, the more history I find out about, the more people I learn about that I previously didn’t know existed – the more unintelligent I feel. I’m graduating from college soon, but I don’t feel like I know very much at all.

As my graduation date approaches, I’m beginning to wish I would have double-majored. Or took a third minor. Or majored in Theatre, or Linguistics, or French, or Biology. I’m not done learning – I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I know enough – like I’m intelligent enough.

Sure, I could keep going to school for forever – for the rest of my life. Maybe I would do that, if it didn’t cost thousands of dollars per year. But people don’t go to college to learn, they go to get jobs.

So, in order to keep learning, without going to college – what do I do? How do keep experiencing things in my life  which will improve my understanding of the world? Or the universe? How can I feel like each day is improving the person that I am?

Do I just have to find a job that I like? That makes me happy? Do I just use my college education for what it’s meant for: getting a higher-than-minimum-wage-paying job?

Do I travel? Do I meet and talk to new people as often as possible? Do I read books and blogs and listen to podcasts and radio programs and watch cool movies?

What do I do?

Once they had me that scrap of slightly-thicker-than-normal paper with my name on it, what do I do?