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viewpoint

Stopping time

| Monday, March 31, 2014

I never really understood why my dad hated birthdays. As far as I could tell, getting older meant you could do more and more, and birthdays meant presents, cake and maybe even a day where you could get away with not making your bed. I always knew that time moved forward, that we kept getting older. I just always figured it meant life would be the same, just even better. The truth, however, is time doesn’t stop. And as it ticks on, our lives indeed change.
The Sandlot taught us that heroes are remembered, but legends never die. It also taught us that even the glasses-wearing among us have a chance with the Wendy Peffercorn in our lives, but that’s neither here nor there.
A bunch of legends will be graduating this spring, and while their influence will remain and their stories will echo forth for new classes to hear, we’ll see them less and less. Legends don’t die, but they do move on to careers other than those on campus and to cities other than South Bend.
I had the chance to come back to campus this past weekend for my spring break. Needless to say, it was awesome. But as I sit here waiting to board my flight back to study ‘abroad’ in D.C., I know the time I have left with the seniors is no longer measured in semesters, months and weeks but in the days and hours until I’ll be back in May.
As those days and hours tick away, my senior year is no longer inching but rather sprinting toward me. As much as I’m looking forward to being a resident assistant in Siegfried, I know next year will bring a new level of responsibility. I know that on some level, it will change the relationships I have with the underclassmen I’m proud to consider family. While I can’t wait to see all those guys next year, I wouldn’t mind a little more time with them now. But soon, the freshmen will be sophomores; the sophomores will be juniors. I can’t ignore the inevitable transition or the fact that the passing of time is responsible for this change.
Like many other juniors, I decided to leave the friendly confines of campus to study elsewhere for a semester. I am able to take classes that I’m genuinely excited to go to and intern in the heart of D.C. I’ve had the chance to spend more time with my older brother than I have in years. I’ve made a bunch of great friends I wouldn’t have met back in South Bend. If I had to do it all over again, I think I would probably still go to D.C. There are experiences and opportunities here in D.C. that I couldn’t have had back on campus. But I know, as well, there are also things back on campus I cannot experience because I’m there.
I knew I would miss the people at Notre Dame, though I’m not sure I realized just how much. I miss friends and hate missing out on what’s happening in their lives. As I was reminded last night, I even miss waking up at three a.m. to their hijinks as they return from C.J.’s and finding a snapchat of said activities the next morning. But, alas, I know I couldn’t have both my time in D.C. and on campus this semester.
While talking about how quickly our undergraduate years have passed, my friend offered, “I don’t want to be a senior. Well, I do, it’s just that I want to be a senior forever.”  I’m not sure I know anyone that disagrees.
Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over, and over and expecting different results. I don’t think Einstein realized that sometimes that type of insanity is exactly what we’re after. Sometimes we don’t want anything to be different or to change. Although, on some level, we know that life moves on ⎯ that our memories are just that, locked somewhere in the past ⎯ we still fight against it. As much as we may wish, we know we can’t relive those moments; we can’t go back in time and experience them again. Much as I may wish things would remain the same, I know that life, for better or for worse, changes. Friends are studying in different countries and continents and will be in different cities and states. Friends will be graduating. Though I can’t wait to have everyone back on campus together, I know I’ll miss those who are leaving.
No matter how hard my friends and I wish, we can’t be juniors, or seniors or students forever. We’re getting older. Time is undeniably passing. But that shouldn’t keep us from clinging to memories or from believing that we can recreate the greatness of those moments. The knowledge of our transience shouldn’t deter us from the belief that our future holds the same incredible memories as our past.
I want to be optimistic. I’d like to say that after sharing all these words, I have something comforting or sunny with which to end my column. The truth, however, is that while I’m excited to see what the coming year has to bring, I’m also nervous and maybe even a tad scared too. I hope that time at Notre Dame continues to age well, that it may age more like that bottle of wine we pass up for the Franzia, and less like the two-day-old, half-consumed can of Natty stewing in the corner of our room.
I want to be a senior, to see all the great things it will bring. But, in truth, I want a little more time as a junior too.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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