The students cheered and hollered loudly today when their friends campaigned for student council. Some of the kids rode waves of popularity all the way to the ballot box, scarcely bothering to make speeches, others tried harder, but they all got cheers. Once again, on the other side of the fence, I'm sitting and checking signatures against a list of student names and thinking how much easier it was to matter back in school. The lines that make you Someone start to run into one another like colors in a magic paint-with-water book when you are removed from the context of sixteen years of formal education.
I asked someone two weeks ago if growing up means adjusting expectations when your whole life you've been fed on a diet of dreams you must chase. Why didn't that diet include gentler words of wisdom, such as defining to yourself why you have a dream at all? Why were we told to reach for the moon to land among the stars, etcetera, when we should have been reminded our brightness may or may not lie in astronomic pursuits? And why, why, didn't anyone tell us inspiration lies in the people we meet and as long as we stay human we will automatically matter? It is inspiration, not achievement, that is found in mean quantities in the supposed real world. Someone should hold seminars for 21 year olds telling them that their three-years-later selves won't care how many things are checked off a to-do-list every day. Telling them to hear and tell stories and meet people, because that is the only thing that ever changed the world for the better.
I asked a current student council member if it's a bitter feeling to see the next group come in and take their place, remembering that's how we felt six years ago, remembering that's how I feel now when my friends are still in college. That slight envy of good times still to come, coupled with I-wish-you-knew-what-was-coming. Really, I wish you knew what was coming, because life never stops being fascinating if mattering matters less.