I've had time whiplash this morning.
Flaked out on a conference this morning, ended up eating breakfast elsewhere, doing a little psych homework, and watching SNL for a paper due this week for History of English.
Just for funsies, I watched THEEE first episode of the series, from October 11, 1975.
And thought about what my parents' lives must have been like at that time.
They had graduated high school that spring, and by the time this aired, mom was in her first semester of college at St. Cloud State, and dad was on the farm.
Amazing how things have changed; even more amazing is how much has stayed the same the past 38 years. I got most of the jokes in the episode. And a lot of the sentiments that we kind of "own" and think we're so special for them, like hating the President, have actually been around quite a while.
They weren't so different from us in their time, after all.
It's interesting looking back, too; at the time this episode was filmed, the actors were young. They didn't know what the rest of their future held. But from this perspective, we can see who they have become, what they have achieved. The guy from Blues Brothers (an SNL skit series turned movie), Will Ferrell, Gary Carson...
So much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same.
After I watched that episode, I hopped on Facebook (as usual). I saw pictures uploaded by our royalty "mother", who has a kid in Karen's class, a senior in high school, and an 8th grader.
And I didn't know more than three of the 8th graders. This was my school, where I grew up. How could I not know them?!?! I just was there, remember?!
Then it hit me just how old I am in comparison. I've been in college for two years. It's been 8 years since I was in jr. high, 7 years ago I was taking Sadie Hawkins pictures like they were.
Cue the walk down memory lane. Jr. High was amazing and blood-curdlingly horrifying at the same time. A lot of my fondest memories from high school are actually from jr. high. A lot of my not-so-fond memories also are.
And to think: My story is one in billions. Each of the kids in those pictures is where I was at, creating their own unique story, own memories to be reflected on for years to come.
Then flipping a few screens ahead, there was the senior, at Senior Banquet with her scholarship, hanging out with her friends.
That was also me. Those were my achievements, that was my fear of the oh-so-very-near future.
She was with one of the varsity sports teams. With kids that I always thought of as the "little people"; the freshman, the clueless jr. highers. And now they are running my school.
So this is how my cousins felt when I graduated. Looking back on those days, still very much a part of what makes you who you are today, yet strangely detached at the same time.
We don't own our past. We can appreciate it for what it was, but we also have to realize when the time has come to close that chapter, and not have that book on our holster any longer.
... or something along those lines. I'm really not good with vague cover-all feels like that.
And then, there's looking to the future. I can see how far my parents have come since that fateful first SNL episode in 1975. 38 years, and they're completely different people, with completely different lives today versus what they were probably imagining.
Mom vowed to never marry a farmer. Dad probably figured he'd always work on the farm. Lo and behold, today they're hitched, and dad has a new job in town, one with benefits and weekends off and no livestock involved.
Where will I be 38 years from now?
What will my story be?
I can see the college years through several perspectives now, and I'm learning all the more to appreciate this very narrow time window I've been given to enjoy it.
All of high school you dream of going to college, finally owning your life. Those four years last a hell of a long time, and by the end, you're begging on your hands and knees to be released from that prison.
Once you're out of college, you look back and suddenly miss it. You have a real job to worry about, with real life worries like paying bills and re-establishing social circles. You're no longer in close quarters 24/7 with people just like you. You're all alone. Once you're graduated, suddenly the world expects that you've grown up, that you're mature enough to handle the load that even 50-somethings still crack under.
You miss the carefree days of college. The time you hoped for in high school. It was everything you wanted college to be, and more, and less, and everything at the same time. A sour disappointment in the things left undone, a happy glow with all that did happen.
And you know what? I'm in those years right now. I'm sitting here, in my dorm room in some random college in Iowa. I'm not going to be here forever. Last year where I sit now was someone else's chair; next year, someone else's.
Yet this experience is uniquely my own.
Still is, thankfully.
It is a daily struggle for me to appreciate these days, but more and more i'm growing to do just that.
Take in the college tomfoolery (just this morning our hall was pranked...), sit back and pretend to work on homework in a coffee shop, go on stupid college adventures that we can't do once we're graduated.
Just live in the moment. And appreciate it for the future.
It's taken me so long to come to that realization. All through high school, I was chomping at the bit to get out of there. And now that I'm in college, I so easily catch myself chomping at the bit to finally graduate, start my own life.
I need to slow down, and think in the present. You're gonna miss this, as a song once said. You're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast....
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this.
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