I rushed home from work at 4pm in order to cram in some exercise before having to go to class at six. It is not foreign to me, having to precisely time my evening in order to accommodate my wants with my needs. I want to exercise, shower, & make dinner before I need to go to class; so at four o’clock I stormed out the door in order to make it happen.
I pulled up to the practice track in City Park to run my sprints, the surest & fastest form of cardio that I know. Unbeknownst to me, Jesuit & Cabrini high schools were also using the track to practice for cross country or some other team sport. I managed to snag what appeared to be the last parking spot available on this side of the park & quickly trotted to the grass bordering the track. As I sat lacing up my shoes, the young high school kids ran past me, their coach’s whistle blowing intermittently in the distance. I was slightly perturbed to have the solitude of my track, which I have enjoyed all summer, taken from me, particularly while being in a hurry.
As I made my warm-up lap, I noticed the bright youth in the faces of the children I was passing. It seems like just yesterday I was pulling up to North Shore High School to embark on what are supposed to be the greatest years of your life. Had the greatest years really already passed me by? I’m twenty-five now with a degree in finance, a full-time job, & barely four months between me & my graduate degree. I had a blast in college. I’ve had a blast since college. The best years of my life certainly could not have been what I recall as high school.
The thought of how today so quickly turned into yesterday and tomorrow so abruptly turned into today overwhelmed me. I’ve heard it a thousand times before, and I’m sure you have as well. An older gentleman at the post office, an older lady at a coffee shop, a grandparent, admiring your youth with longing eyes of yesteryear before they tell you in their broken voice of experience, wisdom, and unfortunately some regret, “before you know it you’ll be my age.” Life passes you by so quickly. You blink and it’s all behind you.
I know it’s true. I think about my grandparents, late eighties, with six children, umpteen grandchildren, and how they must be so proud of the family they are responsible for – all the lives they brought into this world. We are all exponents of those gray haired folks we walk briskly by en route to our next appointment, our next date, our next great endeavor. Fortunately, if we’re lucky enough, one day we too will be blessed with the chance to walk slowly through the streets, shaking our heads at the energetic youth fleeting past us. Unfortunately, that day may arrive so much sooner than we realize or anticipate.
At twenty-five, I feel as though the whole world is my oyster ripe for the harvest. At twenty-five, I feel as though my entire life is ahead of me, and God willing, it is. However, I also feel at twenty-five, that I am nowhere near where I want to be. I have had similar careers – if you can even call them that –similar jobs since graduating college over three years ago: stuck behind a desk, crunching numbers, pushing paper, making a corporate machine a substantial profit from a ridiculous billing rate relative to a modicum wage. I am thankful to be employed. Do not misconstrue my lack thereof work gratification for a lack of appreciation for my stable income. However, this is not what I want to do with my life. I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk with the window to my back, not even being able to watch the world pass me by. I was not meant to be behind a desk, trapped inside, working for the man.
Disgustingly, part of me wishes I was content with such a career. I want to get married, have multiple children, and provide for them the life my parents worked hard to give my sister & I. I am not sure if pursuing any of the things I love will be able to satisfy the financial requirements needed to raise a family. I love to write, cook, exercise, garden, write songs, & play guitar. I’m not particularly adept at any of those enough to create a competitive advantage in their respective marketplaces to warrant employment or a successful self-business. I guess my business degree may have taught me something practical to the real world.
There are a multitude of other wants & wishes coursing through my veins; each one bursting through my arteries, flushing deep into my heart, where they seem to be stuck in limbo, waiting for my mind to make the connection. They sit stagnant in my heart like a prisoner on death row, waiting for either execution or exoneration. They plead for their pardon, to be released into the wild once again, to blossom under the sunlight, rather than wilt under fluorescent light.
At twenty-five my thoughts are heavy & my thoughts are light. If I’m careful, I can let my desires slip away and find content in the mundane, daily grind. I can live for the evenings, of course only until the appropriate hour, and the weekend. I can be a weekend warrior, if you will; working 40 hours a week, while living for Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
But fuck being careful, I’m twenty-five & the world is my oyster.