Being Ms. B

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 18 2012

In which I finally get that song from RENT

When I was thirteen, I sang the baritone part in Seasons of Love in my summer arts camp women’s chorus (it is a boon to be vocally versatile at times).

If you weren’t born to be a musical theater geek, you might not know the song by name.  It’s the one that asks, “how do you measure, measure a year?”

I always thought that was a pretty stupid question.  Even noting, as I have over the course of twenty-almost-three years, that time speeds up with age, a year has always been an immutable 365 days.  Or as the song anally reminds us, 525,600 minutes.  And whether I counted by birthdays or school days, it was never too hard to grapple with accounting for the passage of time.

366 days ago tonight (because it’s leap year, after all), I had strep throat.  It was the day before my 22nd birthday and two days before my college graduation.  I had just shown my parents my new apartment (full of boxes) and we were eating a celebratory dinner at a restaurant across the street.

I am, perhaps ironically, sitting in the same apartment tonight.  Not much has changed, other than the fact that my sore throat is not bacterial but rather self-induced and all but two of the boxes are unpacked.  Tomorrow I will turn 23, and a week from today my sixth graders will “graduate” out of 374.   For all intents and purposes, I am now chronologically a year older.

I think if you looked at my year in a less linear fashion, starting on August 15th and continuing until today, you’d find that it wasn’t as simple as turning 23.   My kids guessed that I’d be turning 42 this weekend, and part of me says, “Yup, totally reasonable.”

Is this the normal reaction to the post-graduate year?  Or is it the byproduct of the Teach for America brainwashing mind-molding process?  Time has flown and elongated and also flip flopped in incomprehensible patterns over the past 12 months/365 days/525,600 minutes.   As I look forward to 23 and away from 22, however, I am cautiously optimistic that time will once again make sense.

That is, until August 13, 2012 when the whole crazy cycle starts again.

2 Responses

  1. Michelle

    I use that song when we do compound interest in algebra…kids love it! Happy Birthday!

  2. jlange

    I feel like I too have had way more than one year of life this school year. I turned 23 in December, and now I can’t remember how old I am without doing quick math in my head. If my kids ask me how old I am, I say “old enough.” Truth is, I don’t think that’s true either.

    Anyways, have a great birthday!

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