I am afraid of waking up on April 9.
On that date, four years will have come to a close, and I’m scared of losing all of it.
After some 20 years of education, I don’t have to go to school anymore. I’m afraid that with the absence of a routine that throbbed on with a steady, relaxing consistency each day, I’ll never get back these moments back; that in two years, I’ll never remember them anyways. I fear that while sitting in a basement with a tea in my hand, looking at a blank page as people chat around me – some smiling, some working, some pretending to do both – I won’t have much to say when trying to sandwich four greasy, messy years into an article. And I’m afraid that if I try, I’ll end up with a jumble of everything above and below – the borderline signs of an incoherent, rambling old fool.
For four years, I’ve had these fears. Though it seems like an eternity ago, first year found me stumbling and fumbling with the words of what this place means to me. Back then I had the confident air of a blimp. I thought I understood the world and everyone in it, including myself. That’s why I had come to Mac after all – because I could, because I was able, and because I was more than competent.
But one night I found myself on the roof of the student center with friends. We had clambered up there and we were watching people scurry off home from their exams. They looked so small. A friend said like ants. Another added we should try squishing them. So we stuck out our fingers, pinched them together with the fury of a toddler, and imagined. Our laughter shot out into the infinity of the night around us.
Up there gazing upon the cloud-riddled sky and the embarrassed stars, I fell upon a definition of what McMaster meant to me. It has stuck with me over the years, even during second year when I slipped into mediocrity and third year where I fell even harder. It is this: open your eyes, idiot, and pinch.
Aphorisms often have the tendency of oversimplifying realities, and mine was no different. But it was nonetheless true: if I was to do anything here at McMaster, I figured I’d have to experience it fully. I’d have to be awake. And I’d have to feel, hold, and come in contact with as much as I could in as little time as possible.
I tried. I did this and that, that and this. Sometimes, like us all, I did too much. Other times, I did nothing at all. But in each little thing, whatever it was, whether this article or research in a lab or drinking with friends until security chased us away, I ensured that I was alive.
I don’t mean this in the general, clichéd sense. Shit, hopefully after four years I’m better than some hackneyed truth.
And besides, it’s a senseless platitude by and of itself. We’re all living. That’s just about the only thing we know how to do. And there are times when we even forget how to do that, especially when things get bad.
But I mean that in doing what I did and feeling what I felt I ensured that I was there remembering, recording, and laughing. All and all, I made sure I was there – an awkward boy doing awkward things for awkward reasons.
I think that’s why I’m afraid of losing the most – that sensation of feeling as though every little thing is important. In the coming years, the throes of adulthood will give me a knuckle sandwich. Day in and day out will mean something more than an avalanche of texts. I’ll cook. I’ll clean. I’ll shave. I’ll drive. I’ll shop. I’ll buy. I’ll sell. I’ll drink. I’ll be tired. I’ll file taxes. I’ll get paid. I’ll be promoted. I’ll tweedle my thumbs. I’ll live, and then sometime later – maybe 30 years, maybe tomorrow – I’ll wake up and wonder where the heck my life has gone.
At least at McMaster, I know. There is that night where I got kicked out of a club twice and I hadn’t even drunken alcohol. That time I handed in an assignment two weeks late. When I read the wall of graffiti in BSB and laughed until I farted. The moment I fell in love the second time. When 5 a.m came and not one person went to bed. When we painted rooms and moved furniture. When we first tried coffee and puked it out. When we watch plays and tried to direct them too. When we burnt our first pizza. Our second, too. Even our third.
There is everything we did, we saw, we felt. There is that time we wore stupid Christmas sweaters.
This is what I am going to leave behind – the moments that only I know and the places only I have seen. Not because they are mine, but because they belong to others as well. And though I haven’t met you and though you haven’t met me either, I’m going to miss you too.
I am not saying that nothing will be better in the coming years. That’s false. We will be the same people we are now, just different, just older, and everything we’ve learned here, though we’ll have forgot the majority of it like ozonolysis or Lao Tzu’s particular stratagem or what the difference between affect and effect are, will be with us in some way or some form.
So know that these are not the days. They are one of many.
To those leaving with me, I wish that you have developed friendships that bring out the best in you and who you bring out the best in all the same. I wish that you feel happy that you’re moving because it’s better than stagnation. And I wish that you have laughed more than cried because it’s a whole lot cleaner.
Hell. I’ll go so far to wish that you laughed until you farted. It’s good for the digestive track anyways. Or, at the least, I’ve learned as much in my classes.
So goodbye, you farts. I must be going now.