Leaving the Lawrence campus this morning felt a little like leaving a family member I might never see again. It was just so hard - driving out of town, seeing things that still look so new and yet so familiar. It's a reflection of how much I've changed, and remained the same. While I've had a few successes and major life changes, there's still so much self doubt that lingers. I know this sounds a bit dramatic. But stay with me a little.
It's not really the pain of leaving my youth behind. The self doubt comes from a realization of so many things that I didn't do when I was in college. So many people I really didn't get to know then. So many classes I wished I had taken. So many experiences I wished I could have afforded. I'm not feeling anxiety wondering if I was worthy of the experience, or of the degree. It's wondering if I took every advantage I could. Did I waste opportunity? When I heard a new alumni talk about his Lawrence experience (class of 2011), I wondered if I would have even been accepted into the university....
The grown up voice starts to take over.
A sponge can only take in so much. One needs to accept the finites in life. There are paths. We cannot walk them all at the same time. The trouble is, there are more than two paths that diverged in the yellow wood of Lawrence. As hard as I tried to walk down more than one simultaneously, I had to choose.
What is my biggest regret?
I've just seen some folks for the first time in 15-25 years. I professed such fondness for them, and yet I made no effort to see them in between either graduation, my wedding, or the 10th Reunion. If not for Facebook, I would have been even more overwhelmed with learning about all of my classmates' accomplishments and lives. And now that we all have access to this fancy internet - we can stay in touch better, right?
I decided then and there, that I need to make an effort. I need to be a better friend to those who supported me then and now. I need to really be there.
Actions speak louder than pledges on a blog.
As soon as I hit Highway 41 to start the seven hour journey to the conference in Ann Arbor, MI, I called my brother Kevin. He lives in New Berlin, WI - I'd be an idiot not to stop by even for a brief chat. I'd be more than an idiot. I'd be a terrible sister. It doesn't matter that we vent our political differences on my Facebook page. It doesn't matter that he rolls his eyes every time I start whipping up the drama. He's my brother. He's the one who invited me to his little sibs weekend at St. Norbert's when I was a freshman. I don't know how I got there, or how I got back to Lawrence. For pity's sake, though - our campuses were only 25 miles from each other. And I didn't make the effort.
I'm so ridiculously proud of my brother. So what the hell, Silagh?
It was a nice visit, mom. See - we get along now. But Erin didn't make me a sandwich. I'll be remembering that.....