In my neck of the woods, we’ve been having more snow than I’d care to have. Normally, this wouldn’t be such an issue, besides the massive delays and people in Honda Accords careening off the road. So I took a different route home to avoid that mess, past my old fraternity row and boy, was it glorious. People were skiing, sledding on mattresses and most of all, drinking cheap shitty beer while having a great time.
This got me thinking: I graduated five years ago. When did that happen?
I distinctly remember being a newly initiated brother. Some out-of-town alumni came in for a visit to relive the glory days. We all know the story, “They just come back to break things and bang college girls.” With actual money in their pockets, it made it much easier. They regale the brothers with stories of offices, jobs and promises of internships or “putting in a good word.” What struck me most, as many can attest, is the statement, “Enjoy it while you can because one day it’ll be over.”
It’s easy to stay in the here and now without giving a second thought to the future. Five years, ten years, 20 years? Hell, the next month could have been 1,000 years from then. At that time, the only thing I looked forward to was Thursday, the unofficial start of the weekend. What bars, which parties, which girls will be where, you know the drill. The seasons didn’t typically matter, except for the dreaded summer when everyone did their goodbyes, favorite brothers and friends graduated with a last hurrah and I spent three months lugging golf bags for people that make enough money to buy a helicopter with straight up cash.
Many times, when I go back and look at pictures of my past self, it seems like it never happened. It’s more like watching a movie where you know what happens; it seems like it wasn’t even my life. Maybe it’s because I grew up a bit, I am much less of an asshole, I drink less or I have more things to do than time to do them, but I feel like life began for me in postgrad college and that everything before was some sort of story in a faraway land, a book or a movie where I know the story but I can’t quite place where I know this person.
I envy college students and really anyone that still enjoys the carefree lifestyle. Sure there are exceptions, but large in part, college was a giant meet and greet before the cruel world makes you pay the piper. All those beers you drank with fast metabolism have caught up with you and packed on a few pounds, the student loan offices don’t really care that you haven’t found a job yet and all those bills that come with the “freedom” of not having to live with 26 other dudes. Sometimes, I want to dig a hole in the ground and sleep for a few weeks because living for the weekend doesn’t really do it for me.
It is a humbling feeling knowing that I was fortunate enough to have so many great nights and wonderful memories. Remember as a freshman in high school, all the seniors looked like adults? As an upperclassman in college, the freshman looked like babies. Now, when I walk around campus or head to work, all the college kids look like babies. Seeing these kids walking to class, even when they play Frogger against my two tons of American steel SUV and jaywalk so I miss my light, it makes me yearn for a time that will never happen again. Even if I hit the Mega Millions and could do the Van Wilder route, there is nothing sadder than someone that doesn’t know their place.
Most of all, I envy those that don’t live where there is a large university, especially one where they went to college. It’s hard enough being constantly reminded that you aren’t really one of them. I remember thinking, “I’ll always be cool, and I won’t be the loser old dude.” I guess I was right, I don’t participate in Greek life, other than to go to meetings with the University for their latest Indiscretions so they don’t get kicked off campus. It’s a thankless job, as I’ve been told “I just don’t get it anymore” and when people tell me I’m “old” at 27, it makes me question my grip on reality.
I fully understand that all good things come to an end, don’t be sad it’s over smile because it happened and all that other shit. I’ll be honest, when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around with an unseasonably warm day, I’ll drive around remembering the great times I had, surrounded by scantily clad women, poor decisions and arson of couches. The one thing that’s always stuck with me when younger brothers or college students that challenge me to chug-offs (I don’t lose) in bars or those 18-year-old kids that think they are too cool for school (besides the fact I was raging while they still peed their bed) is: “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.” .
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