October 14th 2013
Story originally written and experienced: August 1st 2008
It was hot.
The flames flickered off of our faces
The bonfire. The 4 of us. 1 year tainted from college. Basking mindlessly with high school friends, sipping out of solo cups, and reveling in the tail end of the summer days.
“I can’t believe it’s August already. Can you believe summer’s almost over?” Casey said.
“I know. Back to school. Back to reality” Kwesi relayed.
“Glad this internship is over. Just needed a decent job that would pay me to get me through enough booze, snacks and loans next year. ” Nate chimed in.
“I don’t even know where this summer went. It fucking flew by.” I added..
And everyone agreed with all the above.
And eventually after a few more stories of college infidelities, plans for the next day and recaps of who gained the freshman 15, I called it an early night and headed on my way.
“See ya, Olive!”
I hugged my sweater a little tighter as the chill spilled through my sleeves with each step I took away >> from >> the >> warmth. And I remember reaching for my phone and making a call that night to my friend Niki.
To keep me company on my way home. Never forgetting that spontaneous conversation I had with her on that one simple night.
But only because the conversation went like this:
“On my way home from a bonfire with some friends. Just called to say hey.”
“Awesome! How was it?”
“It was good! Just hanging out before we all have to head back to school. I can’t even believe how fast this summer went by. We’ve literally all just been working for the last 2 months, so we haven’t even gotten to hang out that much. But made the summer pass by pretty quick.”
“Yeah same here actually…been up every morning at 7:30 a.m for work.”
“Oh well. Gotta do what we’ve gotta do I guess.”
“I guess…but…I don’t know…do you ever think that it’s weird?”
“This. Us. That we’re spending our free summer days working to just “pass the time.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. I was thinking about this the other day on my lunch break actually. How strange it is that we all kind of break our lives into se gm en ts. Like we’re always waiting for something big to happen all the time. So we spend a majority of our time prepping for it. First it’s turning 18. Then it’s graduating high school. Summer breaks. Waiting for college to start. Waiting for it to be over. Finding someone you like enough to stay with. Hell, maybe even love them. Get married. Have kids. Grow up. Get a real job. Countdown to a test. To an event. To a vacation. To a deadline. But then all of a sudden we’re kind of in this place where we realize that while we’re waiting in line for
We’re potentially missing so much in between
But only because we’re freakin out about the things that haven’t even happened yet.”
“Man. I guess that is kind of strange.”
“Yeah. I don’t know. It’s kind of been on my mind lately. Anyway. I gotta run. I have to be up early. But I’ll give you a call tomorrow when I get out of work so we can catch up!”
“Okay, sounds good!”
We hung up the phone in perfect sync with the completion of my commute. I changed into my pajamas. Brushed my teeth. And set my alarm. And then I got to thinking. I got to thinking a lot.
About the things Niki said and what she meant when she said them.
How maybe she was right.
That if you thought about it. If you really, really thought about it.
Life is theoretically one giant waiting room.
All the time.
Because the thing is..
At any given moment in our lives. Even now. We’re constantly anticipating something. Maybe one thing. Or maybe a lot of things. We’re waiting for it. Wishing for it. Or maybe dreading it. But fixated on it nonetheless. Whether it’s a presentation, an early morning, a vacation, a confrontation or a date. And the thing is, having these milestones in our life are quite fantastic.
But wonderfully refilled every time they’re surpassed.
“One wedding down. 8 more to go.”
“Now that this is out of the way I can focus on that.”
But then I got to thinking about everything in between. How many times I’d ignore a phone call from a friend because I was simply too busy from a project or just too tired after a hard day’s work.
Because taking a breather was an afterthought to priorities, recoveries and more.
Complain that I craved adventure but hoped it would fall into my lap on its own accord in between one dinner party and the next.
Stress about a test. Stress about a test. Stress about a test. Stress about a test. No, I can’t make it. No, I can’t make it. No, I can’t make it. Stress about a test. Take the test. Test is over. Next test. Repeat.
We live in a world that’s full of schedules, appointments, deadlines, priorities, excitement, anticipation and more. And it’s incredible. And it’s worthwhile. And it gives you a general skeleton of what to expect – and where you want to go. Because hard work makes you a rockstar and the things it takes to get you there? Make you completely untouchable.
If we spend our whole lives Preparing. Performing. Wishing. Recovering.
How many phone calls are we missing? Plans are we sitting out on? How much sleep aren’t we getting? Bubble baths aren’t we taking? Guitar aren’t we playing? Friends aren’t we seeing? Alone time aren’t we having?
Living up to our legacy is an exhausting, demanding, crazy and addicting thing.
We want to kill it in the work world. Nail down a love life. And kick ass at every mini goal in between.
And that makes you awesome.
Every free moment doesn’t need to be spent worrying about the next.
Serendipity does exist, so let it do some of the planning too.
Friends, simple pleasures and a good meal are the perfect detox.
And chances are you have all 3.
And once you realize that? And take that in? And realize that life doesn’t have to be solely measured by the sporadic spurts of epic excitement? But 80% concocted by the days in between? In this theoretical waiting room?
Well, then you might as well make that room one hell of a place to be in.
Filled with coffee dates, that book you meant to read, that friend you meant to call, or maybe shutting your door and taking the best damn nap of you life.
And then at some point in between prepping for
You’ll realize that you inadvertently hadn’t really been waiting for any of these things at all.
But rather, they were waiting for you.