When you’re little, life moves slowly. Days go by and they feel like years. Years go by and they feel like centuries. When you’re in kindergarten, the idea of being a 6th grader seems like it will never come. When you’re in 6th grade, the idea of being in high school is simply too far away to even begin to think about. When you’re little, you look to your parents as if they’re ancient – endangered – on the verge of extinction. When you’re little and you have older brothers and sisters, you can’t wait to be one of them. When you’re little, you spend hours wishing days away – wishing for the day you can go to the movies by yourself, that you can drive, that your parents can’t punish you anymore. When we were little, all we wanted was to be big – for time to speed up – for our lives to start.
And time dragged on. We went to 6th grade and to high school. We made friends and we lost friends. We had our first boyfriend or first girlfriend and invariably lost that person to another one of our classmates and suffered our first broken hearts. We fought with our parents and we broke our curfews. We experimented with what it meant to be our own people – changed our hair styles, listened to alternative music, got our ears pierced, befriended someone we knew our parents wouldn’t like. And time dragged on. We applied to college and got in. We graduated high school and we said goodbye to the first 18-year chapter of our lives, and boy did it go by slowly, didn’t it? And that’s when it happened, at least for me. All of a sudden, someone hit fast forward. From June 14, 2009 when I started orientation at Boston College until right here and now, life has sped by with such a vengeance, I have convinced myself that something has happened to the Earth to make it revolve around the sun faster than it ever has in the past.
From graduation to the summer before freshmen year when it felt like every three or four minutes someone else I had known since I was three-years old was leaving me forever – to the fall of freshmen year in a forced triple on upper when I was 97% sure I would never make friends and that I should have applied to more colleges and really given Hamilton College (15 minutes from home) a closer look – to spring of freshmen year when all of a sudden my hall-mates were my best friends and my roommate knew more about me than my parents did – to sophomore year on College Road when my love affair with McElroy and my girlfriends reached their peak – to junior year in Madrid and Barcelona and Paris and Dublin and Rome and Florence and Venice and Milan and Edinburgh and Glasgow and Morocco changed me in a way I could have never foreseen and introduced me to new people, new places, and new experiences I wouldn’t replace for the world – to junior year back in Chestnut Hill when my love affair with BC and everything it had to offer reignited itself – to the summer before senior year when all my best friends lived on the same three streets, we all turned 21 and had the time of our lives, worked our butts off and simultaneously wasted more time together than our parents would ever care to have been paying our rent to waste – to this moment right now, as I move into my Mod and await the first tailgate, the first football game, the first day of classes – the first of the last – and begin what promises to be another whirlwind of a year. Phew. The worst part, though, is that it has all sped by in what feels like a few short weeks.
The older we get, the faster time flies by. The older we get, the more we beg the slow days we wished away when we were little to replace the ones that are zooming by us full speed ahead. The older we get, the more we wish we could stop – press pause – live in moments for longer than they last – remember the days we sat around doing absolutely nothing, the ones when we went on spontaneous adventures into the city or to the beach or to the roof of an academic building, the nights we fell in love with our friends, the ones we stayed up all night studying/fooling around in the library, the ones we know we’ll be trying to relive five years from now. Everyone has those moments – the ones where you feel so happy, so loved, and so content to be where you are that you simultaneously feel like you could explode. Like on a beautiful spring day in the back yard of someone’s off-campus house when you look around and realize you love every single person you are with. Or on your 21st birthday when you can’t stop telling everyone how much you love them or that this is the best day of your life (guilty). For some of us these moments happen in the classroom when a teacher and his class have such chemistry that at the time the class is supposed to end, no one wants to leave. What if we could just press pause – continue to live in that moment for as long as we need to feel just that happy, that loved, that content, that moved? Or better yet, what if we could rewind to those moments when we needed that happiness and love back? Stop right there before the world gets in the way, or get back there when the world is too scary to face?
As we enter into this school year – senior year for some of us and another year of underclassmen-ness for other lucky ones – make it a point to use your own pause button every now and again. Look around you every once in a while to stop and think about how lucky you are – how wonderful your friends are – how much fun you’re having – how much love is in your immediate surroundings. Stop and look at the people you’re with. Stop and soak it in – the backyard of your Mod at its fullest capacity, your full Rubenstein common room, a classroom discussion that has moved you or bored you or taught you, Conte Forum during a basketball game, Alumni Stadium during a comeback win. Soak in every detail, every face, every word spoken, if you can. Time has a way of speeding up just when we want it to slow down and if we aren’t careful, a Monday morning in May is going to sneak up on us without warning. Take advantage of every second – even if that second is being spent studying for an exam or working at your boring work-study job. Ten years from now, those moments in the library, at work, in your common room, in the dining hall – they’re all going to mean something. Ten years from now, we’ll long for the days we slept, ate, studied, partied, loved, laughed, cried – all within a one mile radius of our best friends. And if we can’t have those moments forever, we might as well take them for what they’re worth now. Live in the moment – in all of them. Be present. Remember that this won’t last forever, but if we’re lucky and we let ourselves, we’ll remember it that long. Time won’t slow down. In fact, it will probably speed up. Create your own pause button. Take pictures. Write things down. Make it last as long as you can and never forget the way it made you feel.