Saturday, March 10, 2007

Blast from the past

Yesterday I was back on my university campus for the first time in 16 years, and a wave of nostalgia rolled over me. I found myself smiling, thinking about lots of things ... good times, old flames, even classes I had enjoyed.

I spent some time thinking about this (hey, I'm an American, all we do is overthink our own emotions) while walking and driving around campus, and I found I missed that feeling of "your whole life is ahead of you," the optimism of that. Thinking about it some more, I realized I also missed ... I don't know, it's hard to describe ... the beauty of the chance of falling in love, especially for the first time.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't love my other half, nor that I would want someone else. It wasn't anything like that. It wasn't anything sexual. It was that feeling of ... opportunity? Of knowing that not only is your whole life, your career and more, ahead of you, but so is that one special person.

That feeling, whatever it could be called, is gone from my life. I think that's natural. I think it's part of growing up and growing older. I'm a far cry from the young twentysomething I was back in the early '90s. But still, it was fun to remember that.

And, related, it was fun to relive ... another hard one to describe ... the beauty of vibrant, young women. Stop laughing! Again, I'm not talking about anything sexual (at least not conciously), but there's a purity, a beauty, to young, bright members of the opposite sex that I very, very rarely see in young men. I don't know if a woman can appreciate this (I don't mean to be sexist, I'm literally saying "because I am a man and can't experience things as a woman ... I don't know"), but I think men generally can, at least some of them. Hell, listen to a few Counting Crows songs if you don't know what I'm talking about, especially "Long December." But sometimes there's a certain look, or a tilt of a young woman's head, or a shake of her hair ... and I'm 21 all over again, remembering the anxiety of trying to work up the courage just to speak to her, let alone ask her out.

Then I smile. And I hope young people today still have those experiences, because it's a crazy, scary world.

When I left campus, I got back in my Explorer and turned on the radio. Pearl Jam was belting out "Alive." What fitting end to my day.

1 comment:

Howard von Darkmoor said...

Speaking of blasts from the past, I just bought (at our fav half-price book store) three (3!) hardcover Doc Savage books! I never knew they even produced these in hardcover! I used to have most of the collection in paperback but I got rid of them in the early 90's - much to my now regret. So, if anyone can help complete the set, I've got books 2, 4, and 6 (1975 Golden Press).