Today is the June the 16th of the year 2011. In 7 days, exactly seven days from this moment I’ll be walking into my last exam as a campus student, barring the nightmare of resits and other such horrors this is the last time I will walk into a classroom in the pursuit of my first degree. It took four years to get here and in a week I’ll be able to look back on this through a haze of alcohol and joy but right now...
My future still holds four papers, one tomorrow, one the next day, yes that happens to be a Saturday. But that's life. I have this one friend who has been in the throes of nostalgia the whole month. She feels so sad that campus is over, she talks about how now if she wants to see someone she'll have to call them. She complains that we won't bump into each other randomly in school and have lunch together or go for a walk or go get drunk on a Tuesday,when she says this she has this wistful look on her face, missing the memories before she's done making them. And then she asks me if I feel that way too, and she asks so earnestly, so honestly and with such hope in her voice. I wish I could tell her not to worry, that things won't change, that her life will still be a good one that forever she'll be surrounded by loving friends willing to surprise her but...
All I can say to her is that I haven't thought about it. I say I’m saving the nostalgia for when am done, right now am too busy to feel all these things, I have to read for exams and I have all these papers to get done and I want my transcript to look good this semester so that I don't graduate with something that's “near stupidity” to quote that guy who was interviewing chief justice nominees. I tell her it's possible for me to just focus on this because guys can compartmentalise and that's what I’ve done.
But whenever I say this I wonder if am just lying about it. If I’m lying to myself or to her and am not sure. Emotions are good I guess, am really not so sure about that. Conventional wisdom tells us to open up and spill our emotions, for men society allows us to do this once we have some alcohol in us. With that as an excuse guys can now tell each other how much love they hold in their hearts for their friends. They can tell each other how much that girl really meant and that keeping up the façade that everything is ok is costing them everything but giving it up would mean giving up the only thing they believe they have left, that façade. 10 years ago this was not kosher but that's mostly changed and now I can even admit to this twinge of sadness about campus. But I am busy perharps too busy to allow myself this self-indulgence, every moment spent in sorrow with my head held low is another moment I can't recover, and I have too much to do.
So this is what am thinking of, I recognise the nostalgia from a mile away, just today I read this blog-post by this guy who is in my class, sort of, we both finish with this place in a few and he wrote about campus life, he talked about how it allows you to determine the pace at which your life is run and for some reason that pulled a chord. For the last four years I have been the master of my life, bar none and now all that freedom comes crashing down into a sea of expectations and uncertainty and I can't help but be scared.
In a week I can't tell people I'm a student. When I check any official documents my status has changed to unemployed, all the structure I have quietly built for myself over the last four years is disappearing, it gets washed away all at once, with no more ceremony than the hand on a watch telling me its time to give in that last exam script. And I can't pretend that's not scary, for the first time in my life it is wide open with choices and I get to determine them. From here on out there is no guidebook, there are no more foisted expectations, there is only choice and right and wrong and living with what I decide. But I have no time to be scared, every moment I spend cowering behind my fears, afraid that more thought only gives them more form, and with that single thought giving them more form than they need to have me weak kneed is yet another moment I can't recover and I’m too busy.
But it's not just fear. On the way home I felt one of those emotions that expresses itself in my stomach, butterflies some people call it, am not sure what it is, it just happens when I think of something I like thinking of. And I like thinking of the next phase of my life, I have such plans and if I don't get too lazy I want to travel to places that its hard to get to. I want to go on trips that give me 5 stories in a day, each of them interesting, each of them different, each of them itching to be told, mad that I decided to tell another first. There are books I want to read and people I want to spend more time with than I do now. I want to take long walks, really long walks by myself sometimes but not always I want to walk with someone with no thought about where our feet take us and I want to spend time with my friends without the spectre of exams looming in the background. I want to talk more to my family and get to know them better, I want to have time for me and all the things that make my life richer. I want to be able to just think, to read something that challenges me and have it not be for a test but for myself. But every moment spent planning the future, so impatient to find out what they saw when they crossed the road that am counting them before they hatch is a moment am losing and am too busy, way too busy for that.
And this is what I can't allow just now I have all the fears, the hope and the beginnings of nostalgia that I don't let grow into a big boy because that am way too busy for. To tell the truth I want to write a piece about the last four years, i want to fill it with all the emotions that I have experienced and I want it to capture all the experiences I had. I want it to give homage to all the people I met and all the time I spent with them, I want it to be all the unsaid words between potential lovers, I want to write a sorrowful thank you, or a cheerful goodbye. I want it to be tar-sweet if only tar could be sweet but I want it to be a story about a road and tar is good for that. There will always be regrets, there are all these beautiful women I never had the chance to explore, to talk to and find out how deep this beauty really goes, there are all these conversations I never had, conversations that could have changed the way I look at life, there are all these people I should have talked to or talked more to, a gift of a different perspective is an amazing gift and so to all the earlier emotions there is also regret. So I have to compartmentalise, I am too busy to let loose all the emotions inside me, later definitely later but right now I feel too busy, I won't be too busy in a week. In a short week, in the time it took to put together this dysfunctional world i'll have all the time I need and so for now i'll be hard at work making the walls of these compartments stronger,