Cap and Gown

Heart racing. Sweaty palms. Quick breathing.

Though I wish I was talking about topping out a highball boulder problem, this describes me standing in line at the bookstore to get my cap and gown today.  My inner dialogue became a full-fledged screaming match.

Holy shit, this is actually happening.

Just breathe, Juliet, chill out.

OH MY GOD I’ve made a horrible mistake.

You’re fine, calm down.


Until Samuel L. Jackson made a guest appearance in my head pointing a gun at me

ALRIGHT I’M COOL. I’m cool.  Just get my cap and gown. Check Instagram in line. Aha puppies.

“Are you interested in ordering graduation announcements? Here’s a brochure, you can order here or online.”


I made it out of the bookstore alive, arms clutching my cap and gown, a free mug, and brochures on brochures. I stuffed everything in my backpack and biked away as fast as I could.

Funny how just over a year ago I was crying over the phone to my friend about how I hated Charlottesville and just wanted to go live in the mountains and rock climb. Now I’m scared out of my mind.

I had a plan. A wonderful plan.  I was going to get a job out in Boulder, climb 5 days a week, get hella strong, be surrounded by other climbers, travel to other climbing spots out west.  It was perfect.  Just finish the degree and GET OUT.  Nothing could shatter this dream… right?

Everyone has their two cents about what I should do, whether I ask them for it or not.

“Ugh, Boulder sucks, everyone there is stuck up and just kisses professionals asses.  But you’d like Denver for sure!”

“Dude, Denver is so far away from all the climbing.  I mean I guess you’re closer to Lincoln Lake but that’s only open half the year and it may be a 10 minute approach, but it’s an hour hike out. You should definitely stay in the Southeast.”

“Boone?  There’s nothing in Boone, all the hardest climbs are sharp as shit, you should move to Chattanooga.”

“Yeah, Chattanooga’s cool I guess, but you know, California’s got a really good climbing community developing.”

“California is expensive and you’re not going to live anywhere near the good rock. Hey, what about Nashville?”

adjka;ajkadskz.,mczkjafdkafeuoi; not that I don’t appreciate perspectives but the only real thing I’ve learned from all of these opinions is…. everyone has a different opinion.  Which probably means where ever I end up living and loving is going to be different than where someone else loves living.  I am a firm believer that life will take me where I need to be.  If I move to Boone and find that it’s too small then maybe I’ll end up living out in Colorado.  Maybe I’ll find a job in Colorado, decide I don’t like the culture there and move to California.  Maybe California will be too expensive and I’ll live in Chattanooga.  Who fucking knows. But I’m graduating and that’s that.  I have 4 months to figure out how I’m going to put food on the table and then the rest of my life to figure everything else out.  I don’t know jack shit about where I’m going to live, or work, or climb.  But hey, I think it’s gonna be alright.