Everything I am.

Annie Cai
Annie Cai
May 19, 2019 · 4 min read

On August 22nd 2018, I told myself, I have 30 weekends left in senior year. How will I spend each of these weekends to the fullest?

Berkeley,
I pity those who have not gotten the chance to experience you.

I imagine that when Emily Dickinson wrote about love, she was actually writing about you on a sunny day.

Because with you, passing out in a couch is acceptable, welcomed, even.
With you, we lay in hammocks, becoming slowly sleepy till the bells toll.
On spring nights, we sit on the white marble steps, gaze drawn out to the sea, where pearls of car headlights pulse slowly on that red bridge.

Let’s be honest. You weren’t easy to love. There are days where your 200ft incline grind down my feet and my soul, days where its 5am and the only light is glaring fluorescent, days where the roof is leaking and so are my eyes.
Its those days that I must choose to love you. We must choose to adore and endure each other, at least for 4 years.

But then, there are days where you’ve given me so much to love about you. This last year has felt like a constant race against time. 30 weeks left. 15 weeks left. 1 week left. The last day. Graduation.

In between, there were so many exhilarating moments. The sunny days on the glade. The car camping. The wines by the river in Europe. The ‘fuck it, let’s do it’ mentality. The vacations during dead week. The karaoke legends. The nights we don’t remember, or shouldn’t remember. All those nights with friends.

And as our smoke rings rise, so do our spirits, tipped back down our throats until our laughs can only bubble out from our bellies. Those nights singing out of the car window, the wind drawing more breath out of us than we are ready to give.

Then comes the day where the fleets of moving trucks arrive, apartments turn inside out, and we scatter to our new, hopefully brighter futures.

This is exhilarating and terrifying. I’m not ready to reckon with the fact that soon, we won’t all live within this 0.3 square miles and 200 ft hill incline. Soon, we won’t have hundreds of group chats. We won’t run into each other on these tree lined streets. Our time is expiring.

Don’t get me wrong. The best years of our lives are not behind us. Let me repeat: WE HAVE NOT PEAKED. I fully intend to host trashy parties and potlucks far into an age deemed socially acceptable. There will be more wine and paint nights, now sponsored by wine better than two buck chuck and consumed by less capable livers. My apartment will have more than Ikea’s LACK furniture. Maybe I’ll have some of their STOCKHOLM collection as well. There will be no end in the nights of comedy clubs and poetry slams and dive bars. I absolutely plan on getting trashed with my spouse, only to have our kid designated driver us home.

I will dedicate my weekends wholly to those I love, and that should include myself. We will live to adore and endure this life.

We must hold on to the sense of possibility, this sense that we can still do anything. It is not too late to take that class, or to go back for another degree, or to start a new hobby. It may seem like the world of extracurricular activities have closed with the gates of our undergrad careers, but that is far from the case.

This city, this country, this world is an entire cosmos of adventure, the center of which is your own relentless curiosity.

No one has decided your future. There are no limitations of what makes you, you. There is no activity that “does not fit into your ‘personality.’” Hell, there are no rules here. We’re just trying to make the most of our time between sunrise and… sunrise — the night is always young, my friends.

Once we leave, there is pressure to silo yourself in that corporate tower. Corporate towers are stable, minus the San Francisco earthquakes. The beacon of reaching Fortune’s 30 under 30 shines so enticingly, but does that matter if you don’t have 30 people to celebrate it with? It’s so easy to envelop yourself in your job. To start conversations with “How’s work?” instead of “How’s working on yourself?” In between 80-hour work weeks, we reconvene with college friends in overpriced coffee shops and $20 salad bars, because we can. Because that is what’s standard.

No. Let’s all try to be better than that. Instead, this is a promise to keep in touch, to hour-long phone calls, to lengthy hikes, new sights, and cross country flights.

Let’s all be open and vulnerable with one another, support one another, and love one another.

Class of 2019, I’m cheering for you so fucking hard. Let’s make something happen to this world.

https://youtu.be/eGUzBc3cFM4

Annie Cai

www.anniejcai.com | Instagram

Hit the applause button or leave a comment if this resonated with you. It means a lot to me when people read and appreciate my writing — I still have lots to improve on :) !

Annie Cai

Written by

Annie Cai

Hello! I’m a graphic designer & filmmaker from sunny, Berkeley California. www.anniejcai.com

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