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Old before my time

Madeline Buckley | Wednesday, April 23, 2008

After recently visiting my grandparents on a rare weekend trip home, I found myself envious of them.

Needless to say, this jealousy of the life of my 80-year-old grandma is a very strange feeling. Apparently the cliché stating that youth is wasted on the young rings some truth.

Throughout the visit, all I could think about was the mountain of homework that I had waiting for me when I returned to campus. While I was obsessing over the numerous tests and papers due throughout the coming week, I watched my grandma pack for Florida after returning home from a nice breakfast out with some friends.

At that moment, retirement seemed a joy. Old age is a small price to pay for the life that my grandparents are leading.

While some people struggle through retirement, experiencing the hardships of money problems and old age, my grandparents love being retired. Retirement enables them to jet off to Florida for a month to partake in walks on the beach and poolside happy hours with their condo friends, with no threat of deadlines, papers or working for a paycheck. Then, when they return from Florida, they will come back to a life of golfing, reading and visiting with friends.

Meanwhile, I would return from a rushed weekend visit to three tests and two papers along with the looming threat of finals.

Somehow schoolwork has driven me to pathetically wish I were old and retired.

However, my grandparents paid their dues. My grandfather worked as an engineer for 40 years before retiring while my grandmother raised a family of three. They also went through college, though unlike me, they had to struggle for means to pay tuition. And now, their retirement is not without the pitfalls of knee surgeries and medical bills.

Still, it must be a great feeling to live devoid of work and school, a feeling well-deserved after an accomplished and successful life, although there is something wrong with a 19-year-old wishing she were 80.

But soon I will turn in the last paper of my freshman year, turn in my last article for the paper, and take my last final.

After that, I believe I will experience a feeling somewhat akin to my grandparent’s retirement. There really is no better feeling than the weight lifting off your shoulders after completing a job well done. In a mere two weeks, I will complete my freshman year of college, and I will be able to proudly look back on a mostly successful freshman year and look ahead to a summer of freedom and fun.