Returned to the University of Delaware today—the school I graduated from in 1994.
Seventeen years. That’s how long it’s been, though I’m not sure how. I mean, I don’t feel 39. I don’t look 39 (I probably do, to be honest. But nobody ever thinks they look their age). I don’t act 39 (coffee shop, flip-flops, no tie). But here I am, sitting in a Newark, Del. hotel room, wondering how time works, and if I’ll ever figure it out.
Just a few moments ago I was walking up and down Main Street, watching the drunk and soon-to-be-drunk collegiates and thinking, “That was me.” I vividly remember getting wasted in the Stone Balloon and Deer Park; hooking up with a historically unattractive sorotity girl in the basement of my pal’s frat house; polishing off bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 with Paul, Dan and Scott, then dialing in our odds of hooking up that night (mine were generally about 20%). Yes, I enjoyed my classes; the student newspaper; my season of running track and cross country. But what made college for me was the freedom; the innocence; the social exploration. All of it.
Now, 17 years removed, all that is gone. I cruise the campus and just feel, well, old. Ancient. My hair is thinning. There’s a link wrinkle stretching across my forehead. I have a wife, two kids, a dog, a house, a mini-van. I could put on a backward cap and some baggy shorts, go into a bar, order a Bud … and I’d just look ludicrous. Hell, I would be ludicrous. Because, for all of us, time moves on. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands and travel into the past. But I can’t.
I’m almost 40. I’m alone in a dingy hotel, writing a blog post.
Thinking of what was.