It’s May 22. You’re home. Not even your home — your parents’ home. Which is now separate. Weird. It’s lonely. There are unpacked boxes of books around your high school bed. Your friends aren’t around and it feels like a part of you is empty. You’ve already regressed to a lifestyle of Facebook, Netflix, ice cream and unemployment. Think.
Does someone’s face come to mind? Do you wish you had given it one last chance? Are you tempted to text her? Maybe just go on to his Facebook real quick?
Here’s the thing. We’re still here. It’s April.
But not for long.
Next Saturday is Spring Fling. We’re all going to drink and dance. Then a week of classes. Then finals. Then the parents come. We put on green, they take the pictures, we listen to some speeches, pack up, boom.
How’d that happen?
We’ve got four weeks. That’s it. That’s nothing. Soon, we’ll look back and say: If only I had gone out that Tuesday. If only I had asked out that girl with the nice smile from my English class — who knows? Or, maybe even, if only I had spent a few more hours in the library. I don’t know. I can’t pretend I know what your “if only” will look like.
But you do. You know yourself. Think.
What are you going to regret not doing? Do you have it? On a gut level? Good.
Now do it.
I’ll start. Looking back, I know I’ll regret the hours I’ve already devoted to watching “The West Wing.” I’ll regret not having spent that time with friends. I resolve to not watch one more episode or any Netflix for the rest of the semester.
Because now is the spring of our discontent.
Sure, we’ve all got work. He’s got applications and she’s got to finish up her thesis. This goes for underclassmen too. But can I propose something? None of us should have an excuse. We shouldn’t have an excuse to say “if only.”
I don’t know what making the most of our evaporating time here will look like for you. But I know that I’m upset the snow’s melted because it means we’re that much closer to never seeing each other again.
We can’t slow down time.
But what we can do, I think, is attune ourselves to the moment. We can reject our nature that supposedly condemns us to only appreciate what we have, after it’s gone.
We can listen to “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart, because there is no better way to put into music how now feels.
We can look around and say: Hey, these are my friends. I like them, a lot. It makes sense for me to spend my dwindling time in this crazy place doing fun things with them. Things like going to the Blake. Or drinking wine and talking about how weird and different we were as freshmen. Or even talking about our futures. And how scared we might be.
We can admit to being scared and uncertain. I’m scared. I’m scared to leave a comfortable environment. In a weird way I grew up here. And now I’m forced to leave.
I’m also scared to leave my friends. I have great people here, people whom I love and cherish. I will be deeply sad to be apart from them in four weeks’ time. Sure, we’ll see each other again after graduation. But things will never really be the same. I think it’s naive to believe otherwise.
What we can’t do is have excuses. Or watch Netflix. Can I preach for a minute? There is no justification for that. Seriously. “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” whatever it is, will wait. I promise. Catch up on “Girls” over the summer. Now’s not the time for that. Now’s the time for finishing your thesis and going out on a Tuesday. Now’s the time to be brave and a little reckless, because our actions have fewer and fewer consequences. Now’s the time to tell our friends and teachers what they mean to us and hold them tight because the clock’s running out and this time, there’s no snooze.