“Man, time really goes by fast.”
A friend of mine said that to me recently after we had just finished eating lunch. It was just us and three other friends who popped into a McDonald’s to grab a bite and chat. We were there for just under three hours. But it wasn’t the food that kept us together nor was it the Monopoly properties you can tear off of your medium sized cups and large fries. Rather, it was us. We told the same stories we tell every time we get together. We picked on the same people for the same things and relied on the same inside jokes to carry the same conversation which we’d had thousands of times before. When it came time to leave though, we couldn’t help but think that time really flew.
The idea of time is elusive. Most people have heard the phrase that time is “ever fleeting,” which is true. But most people have also heard that time flies and that time couldn’t move any slower. In fact, some argue time really doesn’t exist, rather we as humans created time to justify routine. I don’t have a theory on time or how it relates to the grand scheme of life, but I do have a general theory on how to spend it. You see, I’m back home now. But I also just left home. For those of you in college or about to be in college, you definitely understand this. As easy as it is to feel elated or excited about coming, it is just as easy to feel alienated by leaving. And as time passes me by – leaving me both excited and alienated – it passes all of us by.
“Did this summer go by quickly?”
I’ve heard that one a few times in the past few weeks too. To tell all of you the truth, no, it didn’t. This summer seemed eternal to me. It seems to me like I was at home over summer for longer than I was home in Athens. Like Odysseus’ crew, I felt as if I was trapped in the land of the Lotus Eaters, feeding myself with that which I love and forgetting my new home. I’ve made it no secret on this site that being away from where I grew up has been tough on me. I had nine years of relationships built up in the house I left last summer, and eighteen years of experience in total. Think about that. I spent half of my life sleeping in the same room, eating at the same table, lounging in the same living room, walking the same stairs. And though I may have complained a little, as all high schoolers do from time to time, my life truly was bliss. Then I went to college and had as much fun as I’d ever had in my life. I experienced new people, new places, new things. I pretty much experienced any new noun I could think of. But with all of the new that came my way, I also had to adjust. And frankly, adjustment isn’t my strongest asset. So after a while, I retreated. And before I knew it, I had missed out on just as much as I hadn’t. My first year of college passed by and I didn’t feel satiated by it. Then this summer hit me.
It was easy to get comfortable and fall into the same molds I had been in before. I spent time with my family, and I enjoyed it. I spent time with my old friends, and I enjoyed it. Hell, I even worked for a man who had been my coach for three years of my life and that involved working where I played. If I were to pinpoint how the summer between my first and second years of college was different than my first and second years of high school, it would simply be the fact that I could drive myself around town. And even if I regressed a tad, I didn’t regret it. It was glorious. I savored the good times. I spent more time with my high school friends this summer than I ever did over a summer while I was in high school. There were no days where I didn’t have fun. And sure, there were some days where I didn’t live life to the fullest, by I did what I do best: I talked, watched sports and sitcoms, and talked sports and sitcoms. Despite the fact that my definition of glorious in no way matches the common man’s definition, I was better than good. I was happy.
But a nagging feeling inside me restricted my happiness. I don’t know if I was resented the choices I’d made in the previous year or if I was reluctant to let that last phase of my life end, but some part of me was at odds with another. The battle only happened when I was alone, which pretty much consisted of car rides and lying awake in bed. Either way, the internal battles I felt reminded me that I was still me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am my own worst enemy. I overthink things. I crucify myself for the tiniest of mistakes. I tend to make parallel lists in sets of three. And of course, I deflect serious topics with humor. But I already knew that. Hell, a monkey pretending to be a psychiatrist could figure those things out. I only say those things daily. If you ever get me in an introspective mood, I’ll tell you those same three or four things. I know my faults, and honestly, I’m sick and tired of analyzing them for you guys on this website, as you guys should be too. I need to grow into some new problems. The fact is, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve thought the phrase “nagging feeling” about myself, I’d have earned more money than Andrew Carnegie. So what if I perceive myself as flawed. Everyone is flawed. But one thing is not flawed, and that is time.
That’s the brilliant thing about time: it can’t stop. The world’s best and brightest will all testify that at this point in human history, time is the one constant which can’t be altered. All of our other scientific laws, be them gravity or thermodynamics or whatever else is a scientific law, can feasibly be altered, disproved or questioned by man. As far as I know, we have no natural way of stopping, slowing down, or speeding up time without a black hole, and I hope we never get close enough to one of those to see if that’s true. And all of you science guys can go into a tiff about this, but I hope we never can alter time. Time is what holds life as we know it together. Whether you consider time linear, cyclical or just bound to repeat itself, you believe that time is what dictates life.
And that’s what makes the idea of a milestone so important to me. Some of you may be curious as to why I get so sentimental when anything ends. That’s because there truly is no going back. For me, the summer of 2013 is over. The memories may live on, but for all intents and purposes, that summer was the past. And, to steal a line from the scribe David Bowie, time may change me but I can’t change time. I was a different person this May than I was last May and I sure as hell will be a different person next may. Time will always change me. Progress is the most natural thing a person can experience and welcome, but it also is one of the hardest due to its inevitability. To match lyric with lyric, changes aren’t permanent, but change is. And the hesitance I feel is simply because of that fact. I’m like a bug trapped in front of a moving steamroller. No matter which direction I go, how fast I’m going, I’m going to get squashed by the steamroller that is time. By and large, this is in effect what life is. Shit happens. The only way anyone can deal with it is to move on and learn from what happened.
I’ve now been in Athens for two days. As I type this two of my roommates are downstairs with one of their girlfriends playing Mario Kart Wii. After all, some things never change. But, some things do. For instance, I have a room upstairs where I don’t have to watch my roommates play Mario Kart Wii. And on the off chance I do want to play the game from Hell, I can simply just go down to the wind tunnel that is my living room and play with them. But if I want space, I have it. I may not be correct on this, but that may actually be a compromise. I don’t have a bed yet. Actually, I should have a bed by the time this is posted, but we’ll get there. I was supposed to have my bed shipped to me by Saturday when I moved in. But it wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t ever even in Athens-Clarke County. Yea verily, my luck wasn’t the best during my first day in my new apartment. I should be getting a bed Monday though, which will be nice. Luckily, my fourth roommate hasn’t fully moved in yet, so I can sleep in his bed in the meantime. Worse for me, I don’t have internet access or cable yet. That will be installed Monday also, which is why many of you will be reading this in the past tense as I am typing in the future. Either way, that meant two days without ESPN or TBS, or as I like to call it, torture. We do have electricity, which means we can play, as my roommate likes to call them, “Video Juegos,” but solely on gaming can I not consist. Unless that gaming is Sporcle of course. But I can’t do that either. I haven’t really seen anyone I know save for the people currently downstairs and my Priest since I’ve been back, but I have time. I have a lot of time. Of course, that might be a bad thing, but I feel like it will end up being a great thing.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-9”
I’m reminded of this passage from Ecclesiastes as I wrap up my thoughts on the summer. I did so much, yet I did so little. I had so much fun, yet I did nothing fun. I was with the people I love, yet I missed the ones I loved the most. This summer for me was a time for everything. But just as time brings all things about, time ends all things too. And as all things must come to an end, so must this retrospection and this post, this phase of StoriesHouse in general. This will be my last post to this StoriesHouse, as a new era of the site will be born shortly. Until then, enjoy time, for it is the one constant we may.