I’m overwhelmed. It’s my senior year of college. I transport my body back to the fifth grade. I’m sitting in Mrs. Thompson’s classroom fidgeting with my purple mechanical pencil. I see the eighth graders walk past my class with their big kid strides. The boys tall with their traces of maybe-not-quite facial hair, the girls pretty with their neon eyeshadow. They were so old, so grown up.
We’d play make believe that we were the big eighth graders, rulers of the school, but that was so far away; A world we couldn’t possibly slip our awkward little bodies into comfortably. The getting there a blurry gap we couldn’t seem to make any sense of. What will it be like to be in eighth grade? What will I look like? What will I feel like? All questions we hadn’t a clue how to answer, but we had fun filling in the blanks.
We just wanted to be the big kids. To have the taller lockers, the bigger spelling words, to sit at the back of the bus. And then we got there and it was never like anything we’d dreamt up. We were just there, and we didn’t feel any older in our own skin. Maybe our voices had changed a little and our shoes grew a couple sizes but we still had the same hearts, young and alive, stationary inside of our bodies. They still felt the same.
And now here I am, sitting on the old paisley couch in my college house, existing in the midst of my senior year of college, the last hoorah, the year of my last firsts- and I still feel like I’m sitting at my desk in Mrs. Thompson’s classroom fidgeting with my purple mechanical pencil. Still looking at the world with the same wonder. What will it feel like to be 25? What will I look like? What will I feel like? And the getting there just a big blurry gap.
Something tells me that we never really know what it feels like to get there. One day we just wake up and we’ve been here- We don’t remember how we learned to flirt but then suddenly we’re 15 and we’re on our first date and we’re awkward and our palms are sweaty and our knees are touching under the table and we bridge the blurry gap. Then we’re 18 and we forget what it was like to be little kids but have no idea how to be adults.
Then we wake up and we’re 21 and our hearts are breaking and everything in the world is suddenly excruciatingly painful and beautiful all at the same time and we don’t remember how we got here we just know that we won’t always feel this way.
And I think there’s so much living that happens in knowing that we won’t always feel this way. Confusion and the unknown have ways of making sense of themselves in time. Good things don’t last forever and we can’t exist soley by hanging onto their threads, but they surely will always come again. The same goes for pain, it never stays forever. There will always come a day when you feel the sun on your fragile skin and things don’t hurt as much as they used to and then suddenly, before you know it they don’t hurt at all. You will never hurt forever.
And so much of our lives have been rooted in that without us even knowing it. None of this lasts forever. No matter how hard we try we can’t fill in the blurry gaps from here to where we will be. We will just wake up one day and be there instead of here.
So I’m learning to start being as alive as I can here before I fall asleep and wake up there.