Today I parked in the lot next to my freshman year hall. I didn’t purposefully park there so that I could pass it by, but of course, that’s how it happened.
In the morning, I had to walk in the opposite direction of my former dorm to get to class. At the end of the day, though, when I was done with classes, I walked down the quiet, long stretch of sidewalk tucked behind trees and the familiar brick buildings that leads to McGraw Long Hall. It was the path we took all the time freshman year.
It’s been a year since I’ve walked back there. I couldn’t stop smiling.
It brought back so many memories. The time the boys tried scaling the building wall at midnight. Running into friends on the way to class. The time we ran down the hill from the Frisbee house on Thursday night, drenched in sweat from dancing in the basement, all by ourselves. The late night walks to scarf down cookies and milk at Dog Pound, or coming home from Carrier Library, shivering in the cold under the faint light of lampposts. The times we cared so much about everything, but at the same time, we didn’t really care at all. It brought back so many people, moments, faces. But more than anything, it brought me back to who I was freshman year. It reminded me, because I have been forgetting.
I realize that most people don’t want to think about what they were doing freshman year, or who they were. They think of themselves as changed and matured—usually for the better.
But I also realize that I’m not really like most people. I think it’s completely possible to admire a former version of yourself while still appreciating who you are today. Me? I look up to who I used to be, especially that year.
I threw myself into my surroundings. I went to every event I could. Cultural shows, random club meetings, concerts, conferences, discussions, movies. I met new people constantly. I loved learning, even about things I could really care less about. I also had a lot more time on my hands then, but still.
Everything felt new, all the time. Of course it was freshman year, so everything was new. But it was new to me because I made it so. I wanted to experience what I didn’t know. I immersed myself into these findings deeply. I was genuinely intrigued by everything and everyone.
Lately, I’ve been so wrapped up in my own life that I forget to immerse myself; I forget to be genuinely intrigued. Not much feels new anymore, even when it is. It’s solely because I don’t make it so, like I used to. And I miss that. I keep telling myself that I’m just “inbetween the sophomore slump and senioritis,” but trying to justify this certain lack of zest just doesn’t really cut it for me. It doesn’t solve the problem. I’m pretty sure I’m too young for this to happen to me…but surprise!
I haven’t turned into some boring old third year fart. I still do fun things, attend fantastic events. I went to a MLK day guest speaker a few days ago. I went to a last minute concert with a friend last night and danced to a band I had never heard of before.
The difference is that now, even when I take the time to do these spontaneous or enlightening things, I don’t feel immersed like I used to. I often feel like a kid who is all up in this really cool dream, smiling in his sleep, but his mother is calling to him, “Honey! Wake up!”
I’m the kid.
My life (work, errands, etc) is calling.
That sense of buoyancy has dissipated just a smudge. Mostly because my brain is thinking “I don’t have time for this,” or, “I really should be doing this instead.”
What I’m really trying to say is that it seems like everything is losing its sense of adventure.
It feels like a break, rather than an escapade or venture or journey or undertaking.
But I don’t want that to happen. And I’m not going to to let it.
I’m going to fix it now, before I’m 30, and I really don’t know what adventure is anymore.
We must take time for good adventures.
We must be willing to take time for life.
We must be willing to throw ourselves into our moments, and collect them.
Sometimes we need to go back to where we started to remind ourselves of how far we have come. To remember how much we have changed, and can change. And in my case—to remember how we used to be.
Sometimes it’s exactly what we need.
What did Peter Pan say?
To live, would be an awfully great adventure.