I always get a bit nostalgic this time of year, and now that I’ve graduated college I find myself longingly looking back upon my time in academics.
Part of my reminiscing is that I still feel like I missed out on some of “The College Experience” by living in a commune, taking too many classes to get through school as soon as possible, and at times working two jobs while taking all those classes.
I get that I have a unique story to tell – how many people can say that they lived with several dozen homeless folks (over the course of 3 years), forcing issues of addiction, mental health, and social justice to the forefront, while also making friends with people ten to thirty years older, and getting out of college without any debt?
So don’t get me wrong, I value the experience I had. But there’s a sense of loss that I can’t escape, that I’ll never get to be that reckless 18 year old partying it up without a care. Logically I realize that I don’t want to be that person, and that I even tried partying once and hated it, but sometimes it takes a jolt to bring me back to reality.
This morning, I woke up to find 3 people I’d only met cursorily the night before crashed on the couch. As I went to feed the cat, I stumbled upon my brother-in-law’s friend sleeping naked accept for a thankfully well positioned blanket. The kitchen that my sister had worked so hard to clean just a few days before had glasses, shot glasses, and a telltale empty handle of vodka on the counter, with mysterious fluff (?) strewn all over the hardwood.
I couldn’t help but laugh a little bit to myself. You see, a year ago I was finding people sleeping on my doorstep and dealing with a roommate that brought in people off the street too haphazardly. Then I decided to move to the city, with my almost 30 year old sister and brother-in-law that worked 9-5 jobs and I thought that my life would be a bit more normal now… yet here I am with what seems like an almost identical situation.
It seems like the things that I expect to change are the ones that stay the same.
I used to be a poor college student; now I’m a poor college graduate.
My peers used to stress out about passing tests; now we stress out about finding enough (or any!) work and paying bills.
I still eat many of my meals in my car, though I’m trying to throw an apple or banana in there sometimes.
Before I thought that once I graduated I’d finally get my life together – get organized, fit, healthy, a social life. Now I think that when I move out on my own I’ll get it all done.
And yet life isn’t static. I’ve grown and changed so much in the last four years and my career and life plans have been all over the place. The opinions and plans I thought were here to stay have been altered or even been thrown out.
For some reason, in the midst of all of that tumult and chaos, it’s almost comforting to know that some things will stay the same: I’ll never be rich, I’ll never feel like I’m on top of it all, I’ll always have a taste for chocolate, and I’ll always be interested in making things.
Well, of course, with the way my life seems to go, now that I’ve set those in stone, who knows how they’ll end up? But I guess that’s half the fun – life would be boring if I knew how it’d all turn out beforehand.