Starting over all over again

I spent some extended time this morning in a shared space dominated by a young woman with a relatively loud voice, a heart full of enthusiasm, and—I have to say—a huge lack of self-awareness. Apparently under the impression she was talking to the woman next to her, she regaled all present with an account of the preparations for her imminent return to college, about which she is extremely excited—“because it’s senior year”—but also a little apprehensive—“because, you know, it’s senior year.”

One of the things she’s anticipating most eagerly is taking a journalism course and “preparing articles for the student newspaper!!!” (And the quote wouldn’t accurate without all three exclamation points!!!) Which brought back fond memories of my own days as an ink-stained student wretch.

Coincidentally it happens that that this delightful reminder of those days arrived yesterday by email from a friend and former colleague. This two-page special edition represents my sole venture into sports writing and editing (as “Sports Editor-in-Chief for this issue”). Though I remember working on it, I really can’t imagine how I managed to write the lede article, since to this day I personally know nothing about football. Life continues to be full of surprises.

Which I guess is what struck me most forcefully as I listened. I admit to feeling just a twinge of envy—oh, to be young again! And yet the thing I know now, what this young woman won’t realize for some time to come, is that “senior year” isn’t just a one-time phenomenon, at least metaphorically speaking. It’s something that’s likely to happen over and over again.

Forty-five years after my own departure from college, I’m amazed to realize how often I’ve found myself in that liminal space between what is now and what will be next, feeling anxious excitement about what might lie ahead, along with a bit of regret for what I was leaving behind. But regrets or no, we keep moving forward into the unknown, waiting until future possibilities too numerous to imagine settle into just a few that will prevail, at least for a while.

Until it’s time to graduate all over again.