In my final four weeks as a Georgia Southern college student, I’m going to look back at how each year, freshman, sophomore and junior, and how each has defined my life and has led me to where I am today. This is part four of the four-part installment.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” he wrote, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...and one fine morning…we beat on, boats against the current, bourne back ceaselessly into the past.”
A few months ago, one of my classmates realized that he once lived in the same apartment I have dwelled for the past three years. When people move into previously occupied spaces, we rarely think about the previous tenants, because the space becomes our own.
I remember very clearly the day I moved into 734. It was a hot Saturday in August, and there were boxes upon boxes of new things that had been purchased specifically for my first apartment. That day, my Mom had to work, and I had to move in alone. With the help of my friends and their families, things got done pretty quickly, and soon enough, everything stayed where it was put.
Over the past few years, there are countless stories these things could tell. Living room pictures could speak about palate nights, when we put big blankets on the floor and our friends slept over. The kitchen silverware would remember Thanksgiving Dinner’s and Community Breakfast’s, as everyone would chip in with something to eat. Even the bathroom towels can recall nights when we celebrated too much, and were forced to clean up.
The first thing you notice when you start packing is not so much the things, but the items taken off the wall. As the pictures frames, posters, and personal belongings go out, all that remains is an empty room. It is such a strange feeling, because we grow comfortable with this place that we call our own. You see, the home we have built is not with glass, concrete, and stone, but with the people that occupy the frames we pack, capturing moments that live on forever in the snapshot.
In College, you take a lot of classes and learn many lessons along the way. Yet the things you remember are not the campus activities or responsibilities managed, but the quiet moments when you needed a family that was ready to help at a moments notice. You see, in life we rarely have the opportunity to know people as intimately as we do now. Here, we have true friends who can finish sentences before we start saying them. It takes years to form such relationships.
Robert Herrick once wrote, "gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a-flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying." Four years ago, this moment seemed an eternity away. Many of the people and things that once defined my life have faded into the past, but I remember and appreciate them all for changing me in that moment. While many of us will remain friends, moving on to do great things, our relationships will never again be what they are today.
When people go in and out, life becomes like a moving truck.
Some things we keep and some we discard, while others get lost along the way. But through each experience and encounter, we learn something about ourselves, as everything we touch defines who we are becoming.
Someone else will soon live where we lived, as others did before. Our very existence will fade into obscurity as the people that knew us leave this town to live their lives as we do now. But for an all too brief moment in time, these walls were ours, these moments we shared, and our life soon again is redefined.
As we drive away, our rearview mirror bourne ceaselessly into the past, there is a portrait of every single being who touched our lives. Some are clearer than others, as memories guide us across the years to moments we never forget.
For those, I am eternally grateful.