I’m sure there’s a movie about some girl going off to college and she has one last great night with her high school friends before she says goodbye, right? I’m assuming there’s a movie out there like this, but I don’t really watch movies, so I can only assume here.
To find out if there is a movie, I typed “movie about girl go to college” into Google, and came up with this list , which the first suggestion is Mean Girls and that’s totally not the vibe i’m going here. The search also came up with The To Do List, which, for the record, is one of the very few movies I’ve seen and it just happens to be one of my favorites (along with Crazy, Stupid, Love., Easy A, and Eat Pray Love, if that gives you a glance into how few movies I watch), but, again, it isn’t the right vibe.
I don’t know a movie to describe the vibe, so I guess I’ll have to.
It was a few nights before I was leaving for college. Half my friends were somewhere crying about how much they’ll miss everyone, and the other half were so high they couldn’t think (in an effort not to cry about how much they’ll miss everyone). All of my friends from high school were guys, just so you know.
At the end of the night, three of my very closest friends and I were sitting on the swings talking about the future. I distinctly remember thinking that the four of us could have been in a movie because we were so hopelessly cliché, and I like thinking about stuff like that.
My friend Alec was going on and on about how we would never have “this” moment again – how we would never be exactly the same people we were in that moment. I knew he was right because everyone grows and changes and it’s inevitable, but also I couldn’t help but think that somehow I was above that and that I would maintain who I was through my first year of college.
“Don’t ever be satisfied with your growth in this world.”
Now, I know this sounds so vain, but you have to understand that I really thought I knew myself in high school. I, like everyone else, probably, thought I had it all figured out. I thought I was already pretty much my best self and I’d get a little smarter, but for the most part, I already had everything I needed to be successful in what I wanted to do in life.
I was wrong, but you already knew that.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how wise Alec was that night. There I was, thinking I was the mature one and that I had everything figured out, when really Alec had a better grasp on reality – he wasn’t fooling himself like I was.
My two other friends who were apart of that conversation that night are both in frats now. They drink every night and post ‘grams with a different girl every weekend. They don’t talk to me much anymore, and to be honest I’m not at all heartbroken over it – we’ve gone down very different paths, but I kind of knew that was going to happen.
“Yes, you always want to be improving, but keeping your core person strong and healthy is just as important.”
Alec, on the other hand, is still the same old Alec. I really hope people say that about me when I go home because I was awesome then and I think I’m still pretty awesome (oh, come on. I’m allowed to be confident.)
I think there are a few lessons here. You didn’t think I was just telling you a nice little story about me and some guys on swings, did you? Of course there’s a lesson.
For one, don’t ever be satisfied with your growth in this world. You should always be striving to be better and smarter and different – that’s the point. I think that was the most naive thing I’ve ever thought.
Secondly, wanting to maintain the person you are right now is one of the most beautiful gifts in this life. I know I’m kind of contradicting myself after my last point, but hear me out. Liking the person you are – your quirks and personality and values – is one huge step to happiness. Yes, you always want to be improving, but keeping that core strong and healthy is just as important.
Thanks, Alec. You’re (still) the man.