ten years ago, i was graduating from High School. I was done with basically all my serious work by this point. Had a few standardized test to take, some senior projects and finals to hand in, maybe a few more serious homework assignments. but really, I’d picked my college, i’d gotten in to it, and I was ready to go.
I don’t think I’ve thought seriously about being 18 until this moment, ten years later. I remember high school pretty well, and I remember going to college, but I don’t really remember what life was like before 9/11. That is, I was a full-blown adult for only four glorious months before the whole world changed and the new millennium became what it is now.
Now, a few days after my HS 10-year reunion, and a day after US Navy Seals stormed a compound in Pakistan killing the man who master-minded the 9/11 attacks — I’m thinking about how I used to be. I’m thinking about the man-boy who spent an entire summer reading philosophy and physics books, writing short stories, and dreaming about being an intellectual. I’m thinking about the kid who got a perfect grade on his final report card in his english elective: Shakespeare. The boy who memorized and played a devilish Petruchio, who recited sonnets and monologues at the drop of a hat, who spent the summer EXCITED that soon he’d be writing papers and reading books and talking to other intellectuals.
I’m thinking of the boy who was, for the first time in his life: a complete and total idealist. I want to call him a fool — in light of all the let-downs and betrayals and failures — but really I envy him his ignorance. I envy him the time he spent in that utopian paradise before 9/11. I envy the kid who wanted to triple major in music, creative writing, and arabic. He was fat and smart and witty. He was completely self-motivated. While his fellow freshmen spent pre-term having sex, drinking beer, and playing drum circles — he was up in his dorm room writing all over the margins of the Bhagavad Gita. He drank coke with coffee in it. He work a pair of green pants that had more zippers than fabric.
He simply didn’t care.
That was me before college really set in, and 9/11, and death and mortality and so forth. After the last few months of that year, I changed so quickly. I dropped all my diversions. I stopped pursuing creative writing and a few months later i would quit Arabic (which I was actually really good at). I wrapped myself up in music and academia. And cynicism. And have been that way ever since that time.
Now, with Osama dead and with the clean and clear-cut marker of time that is my High School reunion… i’m wondering what the next step is? who will i be in ten MORE years?
what is starting now? its time to start remember the present again.