It’s so hard, on a beautiful day like this, not to wish my desk were outside. I’d like to bathe in this glorious sunshine, with the trees swaying back and forth to show off their lovely array of colors and rustling just enough to push my mind into a vortex of days on Alumni Lawn, skipping classes, watching strangers and friends play Frisbee, lounge on blankets, read books, or nap.
I long for those days sometimes. In many ways, life was simpler. I didn’t have so many responsibilities. I didn’t have so many things to worry about. I didn’t have so many obligations pulling me in so many directions. I didn’t have to work so hard to stay in shape. I didn’t have to worry so much about what I ate or shouldn’t eat or did eat.
And yet, if my soul could have been as happy and healthy as I feel now… I’d never have wanted to leave that time. I might have become the Joey Greene of the mid-90s.
Joey Greene was a 7th year student when I was a freshman. He’d hemmed and hawed so damn long that people came to see him as an institution on campus. He was the first person to get to know as many freshmen as possible, and he made it his personal mission to know as many undergrads as possible. He showed us around campus. He avoided questions about why he’d been there so long. He loved school that much, and his parents indulged his avoidance of the ominous real world.
I get what he was going through, though. Even when I did graduate, I wasn’t ready for the real world. I put it off as long as I could, and even longer.
I think the reality is… I suddenly realized how great it could be to be a kid, and I didn’t want to grow up.
I look back on those days with deep fondness and appreciation. I have precious memories of blissful moments, and over time, those far outshine the darkness—which is good, because in those days it was vast and overwhelmingly deep.
But on days like today, I think of little else but leaning against a fat-trunked Magnolia tree, daydreaming about whatever boy I had a crush on at the moment, pretending to read whatever text I was supposed to have already read.
And I realized something: college taught me the value of living in the moment.
A priceless gift, indeed…