Recently, I moved into a bigger apartment. I think my parents were more excited about this fact than either Dana or I because it means that they get to send me home with copious amounts of stuff every time I visit them. My boxes and bins stuffed to the brim with paperwork, college books, grade school projects and baby books all suffered suffocation in the backseat and trunk of my four door sedan as I trekked the three hours back to my apartment. I dreaded going through the boxes and organizing. I knew that I would most likely be storing it in my apartment and that it would sit just as it had for the past ten years.
I finally gathered up the stamina to tackle some of the boxes last weekend. I found a bin that has kept my memories since I was a baby. Each of my siblings and I have our own box dedicated to photographs, papers, projects, as well as anything and everything my parents found worth saving from our school days. I found class photos from middle school and even farther back, but I had to stop when I found one from fifth grade. I looked at all the faces and realized that I only knew where about a fourth of those kids, now grown adults, are now.
I couldn't seem to grasp the reality that is the present. One of the boys is now married and recently had his first child. One of the girls is still in my life and has been one of my best friends since we were eleven years old. Another guy died last fall in a tragic plane crash, while another girl is getting married on my birthday next spring and I will be attending her wedding. It is unreal that the years have passed and some of the students in that picture are here while some are no longer with us. I look back and think that none of us knew who would be married by twenty-five or who would no longer be featured in photographs anymore.
I wonder if any us are where we thought we would be now in the year 2013, a year that sounded so foreign in a millennium that didn't exist when we were in grade school. Time changes us. Life changes us. Our goals are different, our priorities become real, our lives mold into ones that we may or may not be proud of due to actions we have chosen and decisions we have made. It humbles me to think about how my life now is so far removed from how I imagined it to be when I was eleven. The real world is more vivid and alarming than I could have imagined, and I am still trying to discern daily whether that is a good thing or not.