For the first time the other day, I really felt old. I was checking out at Kroger, buying my ton and a half of veggies and fruits for my crazy diet. Which, by the way, since it is now defunct, does anyone want a head of cabbage? What the heck am I supposed to do with that? Is sauerkraut hard to make?? It’s the only thing I can think to do with cabbage that at least one of us will eat.
As I was paying, I overhear the tail end of a conversation between two co-workers. Two girls were talking and must have realized they both attend/attended the same high school. The younger girl asked when the older girl graduated, to which she replied 1996. The younger girl was all like, “OMG, that was the year after I was born!” What the what??? You are old enough to work and you were born when I was a sophomore in high school? If I had had much worse luck and God truly decided to punish me for my mischievousness, this girl could feasibly be my daughter??? Holy crap!
Then a few days ago, I drove by my alma mater, Bowling Green State University, on my way to take my son to a doctor appointment. It’s been 12 years since I graduated and I started waxing nostalgic. Sometimes I really miss those carefree days. Although, to say college was not stressful would not be fair. The stress of being an adult and when I was in college is just different. I remember the killer math and science classes, which almost put a stop to obtaining my useless degree, because as Barbie would say, “Math is hard!” These were not my forte for sure. I remember feeling the pressure that at 20 years old, I should have what I want to do for the rest of my life figured out before college ended, which honestly, I didn’t figure out until 6 months ago, and I’m still not sure.
But I do miss the absolute freedom and the ability to be completely self-centered and responsible for only me. I think of college as a summer camp to life. All the freedom of an adult, but 1/3 of the responsibilities. (Yes, I am very lucky and had VERY supportive parents who made the hard decisions and big tuition payments (mostly), but to my credit, I didn’t disappoint them…right Mom and Dad??) My life consisted of the following decisions: Skip class and sleep til 11? Check. Eat Spaghetti O’s for breakfast? Check. Sleep over with your boyfriend who just happens to live one floor down from you in your dorm? Check! God it was great.
I miss the days of smoking weed in some random cornfield with my best friend and his roommate, who got all New Agey when getting high. This was fun because while he wanted to pass the energy ball (read: nothing) between friends and ooo and ahh over the Earth’s aura (read: lights from Perrysburg), the rest of us were stifling giggles and naming and making out with cornstalks. PSA: WEED CAN MAKE YOU STUPID! I miss having all my friends in one apartment complex, fondly referred to as Melrose, and the Halloween party thrown by my best girlfriends my first year. Getting totally drunk in our matching couples’ genie costumes for which we totally won the bottle of Absolut for Best Costume, and then recovering the next day with a nice greasy cheeseburger. If I drank like that now, I’d be in a coma. Sitting on a couch for the entire day with your best friend watching the crazy Christian channel where everyone got healed and redeemed and you just made fun of the dramatic screaming and jubiliation. Playing jeopardy so competitively that no one wanted to be your friend afterwards. Watching endless hours of Golden Girls and realizing that each of your roommates was one of them. Yes. I was Dorothy, as I have never been the fun one. Someone, who shall not be named but who now lives in San Fran was Blanche, one very smart nurse was our lovable Rose and my husband fit perfectly as Sophia, the wise-cracking older person who just made fun of the rest of us. God those were fun days.
College could be hard, but the stress now sucks way more. I have a mortgage, a car payment, a low-paying but comfortable job (therefore little motivation to achieve higher success), an unemployed husband, and a house I desperately want to scour with a magic eraser the size of a car. I have two kids who are growing up in a world where kindergartners are expected to be able to publish something on-line by the end of that year (seriously, next year’s new standards), where they can’t play alone in the front yard, and bullying has reached new and terrifying levels. I have no time for anything because dishes are piled in the sink, the kitty litter needs cleaned, and apparently my daughter needs clean underwear every day, and I only have around an hour a night to do it before falling into an exhausted heap in my bed because I’ve spent the evening after getting home from work making dinner, doing homework and catching up with my kids and husband who I haven’t seen all day. Heck, the only reason I’m typing this is because I am ignoring the dishes in the sink and my husband has been banned from any 50 Shades action tonight because I have my annual check up tomorrow and I don’t want the doctor to get all judgy down there. Too much? Sorry. That, and he just got Black Ops II because, under the guise of “looking at some cool lamps he saw online,” he took us to Target after dinner and just happened to see it on the shelf, and just happened to suggest it be my Christmas present to him. Lamps? Really, was I born yesterday? It took staring at the Black Ops shelf, a quick tour through Christmasland and then another run up the boy toys aisles before I had to remind him why we were there. “Lamps honey remember?” “Oh yeah! umm, uh, yeah…these! These right here! I really think these are awesome!” (insert fake enthusiasm here).
So, would I go back to the easy days of college? No. I love my life. With the crazy hard responsibility comes a strong happy marriage, two hilarious and adorable kids, a good chunk of life experience under my belt and a comfortableness with who I am that at 20, I had no idea even existed. What I do miss was that all my friends were just a stone’s throw away (we used to call our apartment complex Melrose), and are now scattered across the country as well as the sense of freedom and self-centeredness. Maybe, we could compromise and just meet back for one week a year and relieve the glory days? Anyone? How fun would that be? Though, I am not sure our 30 something bodies could handle all the alcohol and weed, so we might have to cut it back a little. And close the bar? Please no, it just messes up my sleep schedule and the kids will still be up at 6 no matter what time I go to bed. So – maybe some slight adjustments. Hey, I can dream can’t I?
Ah, good times. I miss you my friends. This one’s for you.