Going back

Hey sports fans.  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but it would seem that my life is decidedly less interesting when I’m no longer in mind-blowingly messed-up third world countries.  Looking over my old journal and the blog I kept in high school, I’ve realized that I used to share practically everything with the world online – ranging from teenage relationship drama to frustration with my mock trial team.  It’s something I’ve tried to avoid here.  Nonetheless, in the spirit of my seventeen-year-old self, I give you some thoughts on my life at the moment – no politics, no academics, just life.

I’m flying back to Princeton tomorrow.  I’ve tried to frame the week I’m about to spend in Princeton in a variety of different ways.  I’ve told people that the tri-state area is more-or-less between Portland and England, so there’s no loss having a quick stop over. I’ve added the excuse that I have some “work” to do in Princeton.  I suppose that claim, at least, is fairly legitimate.  I’m working on publishing my thesis as a book, and my busy adviser is meeting me for something like 10 minutes next Friday to talk about publication.  I have a solid 35 books to read before I get to Oxford, and so far as I can tell Firestone is the only library to which I have access where I can get them.  I even have some mop-up to do from my adventures in Uganda.  On top of it all, there’s Princeton’s rematch against the Citadel, a key moment for the band to defend it’s honor.  I have to admit, though, that even this explanation for why I’m going to Princeton is a bit of a sham.

I’m going back because I miss Princeton.  I had been expecting graduation to be a big, challenging emotional rollercoaster for me.  After all, my first year at Princeton was by-and-large a disaster precisely because I had such a hard time dealing with graduating from high school.  And yet, graduating from college felt like a bit of a non-event.  There were some tough moments – my final gig with the band chief among them – but basically, I got my diploma, said my goodbyes, and got in a (barely functioning) car and left.  This summer has been full of distractions, be it sophomoric games and fire (Flagstaff), sleepless weeks and ass-maggots (Uganda), or adventures in middle America (New Jersey –> California).  Ironically, I’m not sure it has really hit me that I’ve graduated until tonight, the night before I go back.

And it’s hitting me hard right now.  Now that I’m gone, it’s been surprising how quickly scars heal and bad memories disappear.  A wise person once told me that you inevitably only enjoy something for the last 1/4th of the time that you’re doing it, and it couldn’t have been more true for my college experience.  By the end of my senior year, things had really fallen into place, and I felt like I had a place.  Just as with high school, it’s tough to go from somewhere where you have friends, a comfortable niche, and a degree of success, and erase all of that.  I think toughest of all, though, is that I’m going to go back, I’m going to see all my old friends, and try to do some of my old activities – but I will always know that I don’t really belong.  Perhaps I’m returning to Princeton for so long so that this inescapable truth will really set in, so that I will be forced to realize that it really is over.

“Going back, going back, going back to Nassau Hall.  Going back, going back, to the best damn place of all…”

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