Lead Me Through Each Gentle Step By Step By Inch By Loaded Memory

I mentioned before that I’d occasionally be doing “Blast from the past” segments during my Thursday blog posts.  I was trying to figure out what to write about this week, so I started reading through some of my old journal entries for inspiration.  Unfortunately, 99% of the stuff I’ve written in my journal is far too personal to share on a public blog.  But, there is that 1% that might be suitable for sharing … And today’s post comes from that 1%.

This week’s blast from the past post: What I miss most about my college/college town.

I graduated from college in 2006 (damn, I’m old!) with a B.S. in biology, minor in psychology.  Like most people, I don’t think I truly appreciated the whole college experience until I was away from it for a few years.  

I’m going to be completely honest here: I had a horrible senior year.  I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life, and that year I was dealing with a lot of things (things I won’t go into here, sorry) that made it one of the absolute lowest points of my entire life.  However, when I wrote the entry that I’m about to share with you now (with a few modifications/edits for privacy reasons), I actually had my senior year of college in mind.

I originally wrote this back in March 2008.  At that time I was feeling particularly lost and vulnerable, mostly regarding what I actually wanted to do with my life.  I felt all of this intense pressure to get it all figured out.  And I kind of did … Eventually.  I still have fleeting moments of “Oh my God, what do I want out of life?” … But those moments are (thankfully) few and far between.  I have a job I actually enjoy at a company I love, and one of the best parts about it is the fact that I’ll have the ability to move around and grow professionally within the company.  I’m getting married in a few months to the best man I’ve ever known.  I have great friends (both in Omaha and elsewhere), and an incredibly supportive family.  Honestly?  I’m pretty lucky.

Despite knowing this, I still sometimes fall victim to the “grass is always greener” mentality.  I think we all do at times.  It’s human nature.  

More than that, though, I’m an extremely nostalgic person.  I’m well aware of the fact that I’ll often see past events in a much “better” light.  I think sometimes I just choose to ignore (at least to some degree) some of the shittier aspects.  Unfortunately, during my senior year of college, I seemed to focus more on the shittier aspects.  So this entry is kind of a “retraction” of sorts … I’m focusing on the great things that happened both during that year and in general while I was in college.

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This is the main street in my college town.  Image courtesy of http://www.panoramio.com.

The thing I miss most are the friends I made in college.  While some of my friends had already graduated, many were still there during my senior year.  There were the friends that I always enjoyed hanging out with … The ones I was closest to and trusted the most.  There were the three girls I roomed with senior year, who I grew close with as the year progressed.  I even drove to New York City for a day just to shop with two of them … I’m sure I couldn’t convince many other people to do that!  There was my friend I always enjoyed sharing music and good food with … She and I introduced one another to so many great bands and artists!  There was also an older friend I had breakfast with at least once a week.  I enjoyed our conversations, and she always had incredibly sound advice.  I’m sure there are more people I could mention, but these immediately came to mind.

I also miss the small town where I went to college.  I actually didn’t think I would miss it at all since I’m not really a huge fan of small towns.  I was always counting down the days until I left (even before senior year) … But now that I haven’t been back to the area in years, I realize how much I really do miss it.  I liked walking to most places … It was convenient and relaxing.  I used to go out for walks by myself a lot during my senior year, exploring the town while I listened to music and thought about everything.  I don’t think I’ve had that much fresh air and sunshine since I moved away.  Not to mention all of the cute little shops along the main street … I never even had the chance to go into some of them!

I actually even miss many of the professors and other staff.  Most people were so friendly and down-to-earth … I always felt comfortable talking to my teachers, and even joked around with a lot of them.  I really should have cherished those 4 years of being known by name and feeling as though the majority of the professors liked me.  That was a really nice feeling, and I think it was one of the biggest advantages of going to a small liberal arts school.

I miss having my mom come to visit.  She would come up and stay for a few days once in a while, and we’d go shopping and go out to eat and go out to the movies … And once we drove to D.C.  I guess it just made me feel special because my mom loved me enough to drive several hours just to spend a few days with me (even though most of the time I had at least one day of classes).  It was also different.  Going out to eat with her in my hometown wasn’t like going out to eat in my college town or the surrounding areas … That seemed almost like an adventure.  I know that sounds lame, but it really was.  I got to introduce her to places I’d grown to love while at school, as well as search for new places to eat that sounded really interesting.  And, on that same note, I liked having my friends from home come to visit.  Though they only came on a couple of occasions when our spring breaks weren’t the same week, it really meant a lot to me that they’d come all that way just to see me.  (An interjection here: I feel that way now as well.  I currently live much further away from my family and best friends from my hometown, so I definitely don’t see them as often as I did when I was in college.  I think that sometimes makes the visits more exciting and special, though.)

I miss being close to so much.  My college was definitely in a prime location.  Sure, we didn’t have a Starbucks and the local mall sucked major ass … But there were so many other places within reasonable driving distance that it didn’t even matter.  I mean, you could drive to New York City in about 4.5 hours (or so), and D.C. and Baltimore were each about 1.5 hours away.  It was also a really interesting place filled with history, and one of my biggest regrets is never visiting many of the historical sites.  (Another interjection here: Eric and I traveled back to my college town for one of my closest college friend’s weddings a few years ago.  While we were there, we decided to check out the Antietam Battlefield, just one of the many historical locations I neglected to visit while I lived in the area.)

Sometimes I wonder if other people look back at specific points in their lives and wish they hadn’t taken so much for granted.  I do this all the time, especially when it comes to my college years.  For that reason, I wanted to share this … Maybe someone reading this will realize that there’s something they’ve been taking for granted in their own life and how lucky they are.  Then, years later, they won’t have to write something similar.  They won’t have to wish for something they once had because they’ll treasure it right now, in the moment.

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