The rest of my life

This entry was posted by on Friday, 15 July, 2005 at

When I was 17 years old, just graduated from high school, I was awarded a summer internship working at a DoE laboratory. It was my first “real” job (beyond washing dishes and bagging groceries), and the lab was nice enough to arrange a car pool for me. Every day, a nice 50-something-year-old meterologist who lived near me would pick me up and take me to to the lab with him.

During our morning commutes, he would often ask me about my interests, how I liked high school, and what I planned to do as I entered college. I have a distinct memory of one particular conversation in which I said, “Well, you know, I guess college will be just like high school, but a little harder, and I won’t be living at home anymore. No big difference, I guess.” He just laughed and said, “Oh my, you have no idea.”

“What do you mean, I have no idea…?”

“Enjoy the summer. The rest of your life is about to begin, you’ll understand someday.”

Sure enough, I went off to college and jumped right in. I made a bunch of friends in the dorms, dove into classes, and loved it. At first, it was a bit odd, being out of my parents’ house… sort of like going off to summer camp. Except that camp kept going on, and on, and on, and on… and then I lost track. After three months, I went home for christmas break, and sure enough, the guy was right. Something was different. It was weird and uncomfortable being at home. It wasn’t quite “home” anymore. I had changed, or life had changed, and some sort of bridge had been crossed when I wasn’t looking… I couldn’t backtrack. A year later, I couldn’t even imagine what life was like before college.

These days, I’m experiencing dejavu. With a baby due soon, I’m getting all sorts of similar messages from friends and relatives: “your life is about to change forever”. It’s kinda weird. I guess I’m coming up against the next “rest of my life”. Perhaps someday, I’ll be incapable of remembering life without kids.