Yes this blog is called Satirical Thoughts but ever now and then, it’s good to be serious. This whole week has got me thinking (which is something I have forgotten to do) about the past few years of my life and the next eight months. I am graduating in December, taking advantage of a redshirt to compete in cross country and extend my life as a college student for a few more months. Its not quite borrowed time but merely a quick extension of my college life.
But talking with some of my friends and teammates today and earlier in the week, made me realize what’s going on.
College is almost over.
I’m someone that enjoys living in the past and present because well, the future tends to suck. I mean, we are going to DIE in the future and its a guarantee. That is awful, right? There’s also the whole aging, moving on and losing friends thing as well that tends to be a downer. Sure there are millions of good things, especially when you are still young (22 and under) but you are getting to the point where thoughts start sinking in.
“I’m likely going to have a child by the end of this decade”
‘I’m going to probably not talk to more than 75% of the people I do today within the next few years”
“I’m stuck watching Ray Lewis be an analyst on ESPN”
All are enough to make you really think of life by itself. But altogether? Jeez. That’s a lot of soul searching.
But instead of the future, I want to look on the past for example. Since graduation for my fellow classmates is in five weeks, I figured this would be a better time to do it than at that time as emotions would get the best of me. Not necessarily tears, but it would be something I put off and just end up not doing.
Its funny how this college thing works. Its hyped up from the moment you can remember remembering and you work your way (for most of us) through the same school system with the same friends and then suddenly, you are in a different state with nary a friend. You are alone. You aren’t home and with that comes great responsibility and opportunity to really screw up. If you are cautious like me, you made it through with some regrets but overall happiness.
Yet the moment you stepped onto campus, it all sinks in. You are here. You aren’t thinking about graduating because its such a long ways away and plus, you are more worried about your first professor. You are more worried about your first championship race or dreading your first collegiate injury. You have goals that work on a seasonal basis, not a long-term one.
Then you progress, suddenly those new scary things are a matter of routine. You now actually have a routine. You set your alarm for a certain time (8:16am for me for some reason, not 8:15am), you eat certain things on certain days and you become lifelong friends with people you met a month ago. You finally have people you hate, people you like and people you want to get to know. Since you live here, the hot girl in class becomes someone you can’t wait to see outside of class.
Suddenly you do things and enjoy the moment. You listen to music, you take pleasure in doing well in class and in school, and you take pleasure in whatever mystery the weekend brings. In fact, before too long, you kind of figure out how the whole college thing works and even though you are only a semester or so in, you feel like you have learned everything. In fact, you might even get cocky and dare I say, call college your “home”.
Then May comes and those people….those friends now….that helped you so much are now gone. Those seniors, who seemed equally mature as they did fun are nothing but a memory. You find excitement in showing the future freshmen the ropes and telling them some stories about the year that was beforehand. You learn that some are eager to learn and get a sixth sense in which ones just won’t make it no matter what you do. But, hey you are still young enough to enjoy what’s going on and hell, graduation is still three+ years away.
Those upperclassmen go from friends to even closer. You already have a year of running with them or hanging out so hey, let’s build on it. You chat on Facebook when you are away for summer and occasionally reconnect with the older people who have departed except for the rare weekend where they visit town one more time. You notice that its great to see them again but they have no idea about the weirdness of these new students who are five years younger than them. They notice that they have their own lives now and while college is fun every now and then, it represents a time that has passed.
Yet you are still here. But then those friends you have made and grown close to, the ones who bought you your first drink at the age of 21 and the ones who taught you everything you knew about Kutztown aren’t here. Sure, they might come now and then but you are chasing something that is gone. Your friendship is still intact but its simply evolving, just waiting for you to take the final leap into adulthood and leave college behind.
Now though, you are the senior. You suddenly see things through different eyes. Your classmates, the ones you came in with as shy freshmen, are now in charge of the team. You sometimes chuckle seeing them lead stretches or make speeches when the team inevitably screws up (damn, why does every freshmen class seem more and more immature? Was I really that bad?) because you remember them as the ones being lectured. You start to admire the leaps and bounds many take and also laugh at how some guys never really quite got it even if they made it all four years.
Those guys from three years ago? Gone and even though you miss them still, you realize that they have their own life and you know, you only knew them for one year. Sure all those miles of running developed a bond that can never be broken but they moved on no matter how hard you try to ignore it. Sure, the rare reunion is awesome and a true throwback to old times. Wait old times? Did I just use that word?
Then you think about that time where college was a new experience. Suddenly those old songs that you occasionally hear on the radio take you back in time. Every time you hear Down by Jay Sean or Your Love Is My Drug by Ke$ha you laugh at a funny weekend memory and almost grow a sense of sadness. Here it is, a memory that I only have and those times are over.
Now the freshmen represent a new era in your team’s history. Its not about you anymore, its about making sure those freshmen do what you did and do the right things. You hope that a few of them keep some traditions and maybe even bring in a new one. They have so much ahead of them and you are nothing but a buffer between their past and their bright futures.
On your side though, you are looking forward to progression but fearing it. You don’t apply for a job in the future, you apply for a job for now. Your foot is out of the door and you are hoping it doesn’t slam shut. Its not too late to change but its far too late to give up. You are waiting to enter the deep end of the pool but still hanging on the edge, gingerly stepping forward.
You realize those days of innocence and fear are gone. You aren’t a teenager anymore, but one who might have heavier responsibility. We aren’t talking about screwing up and getting yelled at but screwing up and being screwed. Suddenly those nights out represent fear, not promise.
But those races mean so much more now. Man, is this my last year doing Paul Short? Is this my last year of preseason camp? I can’t believe it.
We are not on the way of doing great things. We are all progressing as society does. We are now aware of an outside world, one filled with people who are doing just…things. Which is the greatest thing ever. Your own personal world isn’t bigger than what’s going on elsewhere. We are all destined to get a job in which we strive for a simple “good job” and maybe a promotion or raise. We are settling in for a bumpy ride that will take us to a hopefully cushy retirement. We have weddings to go to, Happy Hours to attend, children to raise and soccer games to go to.
Then we see ourselves growing up all over again, but now we aren’t doing it. We see it in our children or in our friends children and realize how everything is ahead of them.
The cycle never ends. Yet its not a bad or sad thing, its just a thing. Its a reality of life. But those old songs are still there. Maybe Facebook won’t but those memories still will be and hopefully a picture or two survives. Emails will be exchanged and telephone class will continue to occur. Maybe you will go on KUBears.com and see how the old coach is doing over there and get in touch to ask how they liked that field hockey tempo. Hell, maybe you will reconnect with a few of those old teammates and go out one more night to relieve what it was like. Maybe you will have road trips to do and money to be lost.
Then, for that brief moment, everything is back the way it was. Only this time its more fleeting than forever.