October 12, 2006

A Not So Blast From the Past

There's a lot I miss about college. I miss learning something new every day. I miss being open to new experiences and meeting people constantly, but I don't miss the emotional insecurity and immaturity cloaked in a veil of "deepness."

I call those the "weirder than thou's." They smell bad, don't wash their hair or clothing and generally think patchouilly is the shit. They also tend to wallow in their own self-centered ness and speak in metaphors that they don't even understand for two basic reasons : 1) the utter lack of trying, and 2) their utter lack of experience. I at least bathed regularly, wore clean clothes and loathed all forms of incense. Yuck.

I'm now 11 years removed from my college experience and 8 from law school. I'll tell you life is a good deal weirder than I expected. Most of it's filled with the nonsense that eats up our days and drives us into the blahs. And then occasionally there's a spark. You slow down long enough to appreciate the first brisk winds of Fall and how the air just smells diffferent from the day before. And then sometimes, you're just sitting in your office trying to be good. Trying to do your work, but getting lost in the minutia. And you're listening to Pandora.com and a song comes on that brings back a flurry of times and smells and sounds from what was once a lifetime ago, but is now two lifetimes ago.

The song that came on was FM Static's "Tonight." I don't know what line it was that snagged me out of my daze but I was suddenly reminded of people I haven't seen in 12, 13 years. Of moments that hurt so bad because I hadn't hardened myself yet, of feelings that I have long (and thankfully) forgotten how to wrap myself up in. It also reminded me of silly moments with wonderful friends who were just as screwed up as I was in that juvenile "I'm so smart, I know everything" way.

It was innocent and contrived and so damned honest. We know better now. We don't cry over bad dates or a B on an exam. We don't shudder in drunken fear under a Cypress tree overthinking our futures and the impending shove into the real world that comes with graduation. And only occasionally do we get to laugh at some misspoken word and reduce ourselves to blithering idiots.

The song wasn't that great, but neither was my extended adolescence. It left me with the occasional ability to freeze up in the worst of moments, overthink the small stuff and bottle up the big stuff. Some may look at those as faults, but I'm getting okay with them as I age. Those little "growing pains" still remind me I'm alive and have a lot of ground to cover before I am through.


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