This past Saturday, I moved out of my apartment I lived in during my junior and senior years of college. Admittedly, it wasn’t a pretty apartment, and it was far from a junker, but the apartment housed the most important years of my life thus far.
I know it’s cliche to say the whole “if walls could talk” thing, but I like to think my house would have a lot things to say and it would sound like a tried and true old man. Sure, he’s seen some shit in the past 30 years of existence or so, but he’s come to accept it. Luckily, my roommates and I didn’t burn the place down or cause any major structural damage. We did, however, occasionally throw an actual batarang into the wall.
The night before moving out I came back from the movies with one of my current roommates. We went to go see X-Men: Days of Future Past, and it was bad ass on all artistic fronts — something every blockbuster should strive for. Anyway, I walked inside and I stopped. I felt this sentimental, mushy feeling well up inside of me. It almost hurt. In Internet speak, I was hit with “the feels.” I realized that tonight was my last night in the apartment, most likely forever.
This place housed me as I grew in maturity from a kid who thought he knew what was up to a slightly older kid who knew a little bit more than the younger one. I’m belittling what I learned, but I think maturity and wisdom is something you never stop gaining as you get older and continue to learn from the world.
The first year was my junior year, and I was the features editor at The Arkansas Traveler. I had it good back then. The job wasn’t too stressful, and it took care of the bills. I also turned 21 that year, and I think my roommates and I threw one of the best parties I’ve been to in several years. It was this year that I set the foundation with the group of college friends I hopefully keep in touch with the rest of my life. There was never a dull moment back then, and it has continued to today.
Senior year got to be a lot more stressful. I was a full-time student enrolled in the most amount of writing courses I could handle to meet graduation requirements while also being the Editor-in-Chief of The Traveler. I spent countless hours staring at the bedroom ceiling planning, stressing and criticizing how things were going. My family also moved away to Pennsylvania, making for the first time I didn’t live within 30 minutes of home. My home became the apartment then.
Despite the stress, I learned the most valuable lessons that year. I learned that luck was pretty much a combination of preparation and opportunity, and I learned probably the most valuable lesson; the only thing that will matter in the end is how you treated others. I constantly kept hounding myself on everything I did or didn’t do as editor, but that was only because it was the first big project I was in control of. You know what ended up being a good antidote for overthinking? Just working hard. Funny how I would worry about such things when the best thing to do was to stop worrying about my inner boss and just focus on the task at hand. Thankfully, it paid off. I’m here.
So, if that apartment was a cocoon for my adult life, I think it prepped me as well as it could have. Memories have a terrible way of fading, but I’m finding that it’s the best ones that stick around for the long haul.
As sad as it was to leave my old three bedroom apartment, I’m happily moved into a new house that is much cooler and full of new opportunities for the coming year. Really, I’m liking the changes in my life right now.
Looking forward, I’m headed to Wakarusa this weekend to write an immersive journalistic essay about experiencing the festival. I’m excited for you all to see it in the next issue. Until then, don’t forget to savor the good ole days — because no one ever tells you when you’re living them. My advice? Make every day a good ole day.
Thanks for reading.