you win, quarter life crisis. you win.
In between my spreadsheets and databases, I take the time to read the newspapers here at work. This work is so tedious, I need to take my mind off of it and take in a little of what goes on elsewhere for a little while. I have managed to get out of the entertainment section a little more often than I used to, but what can I say – I’m a sucker for a good Brangelina story.
Occasionally I will check up on my hometown via their online newspaper. Although I couldn’t wait to get out of there and move into the bright lights of the big city, I find myself drawn back and missing the small town I grew up in. Small towns are different than big cities – more people seem to care about you there. I remember my 8th grade health teacher telling my class that, even though we hated growing up there, as we got older we would find ourselves missing the place. A good majority of us, he said, would settle down in a town a lot like Hudson, if not Hudson itself. We all scoffed at the idea, thinking that he was living in some kind of weird fantasy land where Hudson was the be-all end-all of fine living. In many ways he was wrong: Hudson sorely needs a little bit more culture outside of the Chinese restaurant that has recently made its way into downtown. But in other ways he was right. Hudson is a place where family values and friendships are strong, and we could leave our doors unlocked without fears of being robbed or murdered in the night. And, when I check up on the newspaper, I can see that the town (for the most part) is still the same.
As I was scrolling through the paper and looking at the pictures, I saw the same football uniforms that I can remember my friends wearing. I also saw the graduation pictures of the class of 2009, and it was a picture that looked a lot like my graduation in 2005. But now, instead of seeing faces I know in the photographs, I see strangers. All of my past teachers look like they are getting older. For some reason, I find it to be a little unsettling. If you were to cut out the faces of the strangers and throw in the faces of the class of 2005, you’d never know the difference.
I suppose that it is just a little… depressing? Maybe that’s not the word I want. Humbling might be a little closer.
Why? Because things will go on without me. As I left high school, others were beginning and in 10 years you will barely be able to tell the difference between the two classes. The same goes with college. And if I were to go back to school and see the track team that I was a part of for four years, nobody would even know or care who I was. Someone else will always swoop in and take my place. I feel so disposable. And now I am stuck sitting here asking myself “why am I here?” again.
I suppose that I am feeling a little low today, and maybe a little sorry for myself when I shouldn’t. I do sometimes get unhappy with the direction that my life is headed. When I was younger, maybe 11 or 12 years old, somebody asked me what I thought the meaning of life was. “Well”, I said, “I think it is to just do whatever makes you happy”. At the time it seemed really simple and obvious and didn’t really understand what the big fuss was all about. But now I see that it’s not that easy (at least for me) to figure out what that “happy thing” is. Maybe I’m sitting here thinking too hard about it when it’s right in front of my face. Or maybe the “happy thing” is having a family while all of this work stuff is just helping me survive and pay a few bills. I guess I won’t really know until I’m much, much older.
So maybe what I should take away from all of this rambling I have been doing for the past hour is that all will be forgotten in the next few years. A vast majority of everything that I do or say will be lost with time. And while somebody will come and replace me in almost every application of my life, it gives me a greater reason to live for myself rather than other people.
I will remember my accomplishments, even if others do not. And if somebody doesn’t like me, they can leave.. but I’m stuck with myself.