The last time I had a 'First day of school', I was twenty years old. My hair was black, my skin was still not quite recovered from the self tanner I had applied all summer long, and I weighed a healthy 125 lbs. I was a vice president in a committee at the LDS institute (though no one had told me it was the least popular committee), and had auditioned for the Folk Dance Team.
I don't remember the 'First Day of School' that year. But I remember how it felt walking to the Institute so early in the morning, there weren't any cars around. I remember feeling lucky and blessed and special. I had a sense of pride knowing that I had earned the money that paid for this sememster of education. I was proud of the way I looked. I remember practically (and sometimes literally) dancing from class to class across campus. I remember meeting so many people I couldn't remember their names ten minutes later. I remember looking for an attractive mate. I remember looking at boys looking at me. I remember most of all that for the first time in my life, I didn't care what they thought. I was so happy to be me in college and learning.
This "First Day" was different. My hair is a natural light brown. My skin is porcelain white. I weigh over 200 lbs. I have recieved a Pell Grant which pays for me to attend college. I'm married. I have two children. And yet, there was something deeply similar in these two "First Days".
The similarity is this: I still love to learn.
I sat in a math class - A MATH CLASS! - and was excited at the possibility that I might know more when I walk out than I did when I walked in. Most of the credit goes to the teacher, but I also give credit to my nature. I'm so grateful that I love to learn.
I was walking along familiar paths today. Paths I haven't trod in almost five years, and I felt reconnected with a simpler and purer part of myself. No doubt it is the same part that wanted this earthly experience: the part that yearns for moments of quiet, moments of beauty, moments to enjoy a good walk from one place to another, and moments of insight. How could I have forgotten this part of me?
How grateful I am for the sacrifices of my husband and my family that I may find rediscover these things. It is the wisdom of my husband that I have tried again. May I always remember that although it was mainly his idea, this was entirely my choice.
I look forward to my "Second Day of School" and all the ones that follow.