I'm getting older. A lot of people who know me laugh and roll their eyes when I say that, and to an extent I join them. I'm only 26, and realistically I have a long time to live, barring anything tragic (knock on wood). But I've surpassed my childhood and my teenage years, moved out of my family's house, graduated high school, and soon college, and begun to embark on my career path. After this April - even if, in the future, I change employers, or move to different cities at some point, or land a fantastic position somewhere - the rest of my life will be pretty much the same routine: sleep, work at something I mostly enjoy, interact with the people I enjoy spending time with, rinse, repeat. The only things that could conceivably change the course of my life's "flavor" would be marriage and kids.
So, with this concept in mind, for the last year or so I've been getting more or less used to that idea. It's a roller coaster sometimes, and occasionally I get caught up in the intricacies and ridiculousness of the mini-universe that is a college theatre department. Wisdom is pretty thin on the ground (not that I necessarily have any either), and people's judgment is almost always some mix of impaired, influenced, invisible, or idiotic. But a few people are able to break through the skin of petty gossip and popularity contests, and make me grateful for this time in my life.
I'm more and more distant from those starting this journey, and sometimes it's hard for me to be less connected. But it's also good. Some of the kids starting in my department are...well, to put it bluntly, they're dumb. They have no idea what they're getting into as they experiment with alcohol and sex and other things. A large (teacher) part of me wants to help them figure it out and prevent them from screwing up their lives too much. But the fact that I'm getting older (full circle!) means that they think I'm stupid, or boring, or condescending, or whatever. Or just old. Which normally would be a crisis of self-esteem for me...but it's less and less so. It's almost not worth it to develop a friendship that will likely only last a year. Or less. Unless, of course, they want to. Then I'm all for it. But I'm not going to waste effort.
To some of my readers (wow, that sounds pretentious lol), that might seem cold, or uncompassionate. But just know that I DID try. Unfortunately, people continually prove that they aren't really all that different from the ones that came before - most of them anyway. They cycle once again through the same patterns of assumptions and snap judgments and shallow stupidities. Only a few escape from that. Those are the ones I admire and cherish.
So, as my world changes slowly, and I prepare for the world that it coming, I reminisce and reflect on what I leave behind. It's bittersweet. But the sweet overcomes the bitter. I look forward to a new life, where I can start fresh, and bring in only the influences that I desire. It'll probably be less ideal than I imagine (how sad, on some levels, to have lost my idealism and my naivete), but it'll still be a world in which I have more control of my fate. And that, I hope, will be worth all the years it's taken to get there.