mistakes and decisions

January 11. 2000

braid girl I finally got to hang out with my friend Willow today after not seeing her since maybe June or so (I know, I am terrible at keeping up with people). I arrived at her house early, so I was able to look around while she was getting ready. While the two dogs Scruffy and Karma watched my every move, I wandered around looking at all the interesting stuff strewn everywhere.

Willow's parents are former hippies (actually, they still are, come to think of it), as you can guess by her name. Willow's father is a potter, one of few in Lebanon County who manage to make a living (and a good one at that) off art. Her Mom is mailperson. They subscribe to Mother Jones. They were probably both involved in every important rally and convention during the 60s and 70s. Although Willow often rolls her eyes at them, I find them completely fascinating and amusing.

Who woulda thunk, then, that their one daughter, Siri, would grow up to be model of mainstream media and society, and the other, Willow, a straight edge who wouldn't touch drugs or alcohol with a ten foot pole. Willow has followed her own road in regards to pretty much everything, ever since I've known her, which was starting in 8th grade. She was straight edge then, even before it became popular. She's also an exemplary human being on top of that. She's volunteered at the humane society for as long as I can remember, and is a lifelong girl scout. And she basically doesn't take shit from anyone. She's always been an individual, and has always followed her heart.

Last year, when she decided she wasn't going to go to college, I know she got a lot of crap from everyone around her. From her friends, from her parents, from her teachers. She was in honors courses, like me, and therefore was expected to go onto college. It was a decision that wasn't really questioned, an unwritten rule. And she broke that rule.

Even I was initially skeptical when she said she had no desire to go to college. The way she put it to me was this: "Lots of kids go to college not knowing what they want to do, waste four years of their lives and lots of money, and still are no better off." It's not that she doesn't have the ability to go to college. I just think that the type of education she had in mind no institution could offer her. She's a wonderful photographer, extremely talented, but she says she'd never survive in art school because she lacks the basic drawing skills that are essential to attend art school.

Willow told me she just isn't the college type, and I have to agree. I honestly can't imagine her living in a dorm, and trying to coexist with people who would drink and smoke, because she abhors that. She's perfectly happy where she is now, although the people around her, namely her parents, aren't. She's been working, and trying to save enough money to get an apartment, so she can move out of her parents' house.

I was thinking about how her decisions relate and compare to the ones I may be making in the next few months regarding where I go to school. And I realized that it's okay not to have a plan, not to have every single detail of your life planned out at age 18 or 19. To see her courage to stand up for what she felt was right for her really gave me something to think about. I know whatever happens, I have to follow my own road.

music: more classical music
food: sour patch kids
read: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
sight: everything packed
song lyric:
I'm in a New York State of mind
-New York State of Mind, Billy Joel