I am at about the 5/8th point in my college career. About 63% done. I reminisce on events that happened at the beginning of my 5th semester, and they seem like yesterday. People like to say college is the best time of your life. It's a scary thought considering by that logic I am 63% done with the best time in my life. I turned 21 a few weeks ago. In a way, I feel a little more free, like a full grown adult. I can buy beer from a gas station without a second guess, and don't have to worry whether or not the bar starts carding at 9:00. There is a bit a freedom and excitement in that. But it's also a strange feeling. When I was 20, I looked forward to turning 21. Am I looking forward to 22? Not especially. When my accomplishments as a 19-year-old may have looked impressive at the time, even greater achievements at 21 seem routine. When you're 21 you're expected to do great things, you're and adult now after all. Right?
I had a realization as I was driving my car today. I was doing adult things, going to the Sprint store to get an upgrade on my phone, only to realize it was Sunday and the store closed at 6:00 and it was now 6:11. I was listening to the Talking Heads and the song "Once In A Lifetime," a song I have heard hundreds of times. But for the first time, I understood what David Bryne's seemingly aimless lyrics meant.
It is about time passing to by and realizing you may not be actually taking the time to reflect and live it.
"Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground"
The water refers to the flow of life, constantly moving. It can hold you down as you get lost in everyday routines.
Sometimes in college, I feel as though I live my weeks just to make it through them and get to the weekend, and the next week arrives and I do the same thing. That is no way to live. You may get to the end of a semester, or even your college career and "may ask yourself... well how did I get here" as David Byrne sings in "Once in a Lifetime."
This song, I think, is primarily addressed as a warning to everyone going through their early adulthood, meant to brace them for the “inevitable” midlife crisis. Now I may be feeling that pressure a little early. But I just want the things I do to feel like they have meaning, so I will be able to celebrate the past and look back on it with a smile, and not ask myself how did I get here so quick.
I think the key not to let the "days go by" is to make the most out of your days. I bought a poster that says "Carpe That F*cking Diem" (seize the day) and put it next to my bed to remind myself not to live for the weekend or a time in the future but to live for today. I am starting to write out my goals for the day and things I did, so when the weekend comes, I will know exactly what I was able to accomplish during that time.
When you live for the day you don't look around and say "shoot, I'm 21 and almost done with college" or even say "shoot I am 45 and haven't 'lived' yet." If you live for the day, you will be living every day. Every day is "Once In A Lifetime"