This Falcon has flown the coop

In honor of my recent college graduation I wrote the following note on facebook. I’m putting it here for posterity’s sake, and because I think it says something important about who I am. Enjoy. 🙂

So Saturday the day finally came, and then vanished without a trace. I look back at that day and think that it’s not much different from other nights I’ve spent partying during the year, except that I kept on ching-chinging people and screaming, “I’M GRADUATED!!!”

Today I walked through the SPU campus, on my way to visit a few of my library friends, and I felt a distinct difference from every other time I was walking through campus. I wasn’t walking to a certain place for class or work reasons – nope, it was just to get an alumni card. I didn’t belong, not in the sense that I used to. When I stepped into the library I felt very strange – not the kind of strange where you feel queasy or the kind of strange that makes your cheeks flare up in red, but the kind where it’s just a vague sense of unease – something ain’t right.

Earlier today I also found out that the Hollywood video job I thought I would be starting today won’t actually be able to start for two more weeks because graduation interfered with my orientation. I interviewed for Barnes & Noble today and they said they’ll let me know by the end of the week, and Regal last week said they’d let me know by mid-week this week.

So now in these few days where I will literally have nothing whatsoever to do, the extra time is already getting the wheels in my head turning overtime, and seeing as how I was planning on writing a post-graduation reflection anyways (hey, everybody’s doing it), I figured why not now?

I look back on these four years and realize how much I’ve wasted. I didn’t try my hardest in all of my classes, I puttered away a considerable amount of time on video games, movies, socializing, other unmentionable activities (:-)), and I didn’t read half the texts for a lot of my classes.

And yet, I’m graduation with a decent grade point average (It looks like it’ll be 3.3 by the time it’s all done – sure it’s not cum laude or anything but it’s respectable), I have learned much about both scholastic and life experience, and I’m generally happy with who I am and who I am becoming, and I realized something – I have succeeded.

I didn’t waste time. People argue that to take full advantage of life you need to be going at it 100% of the time, because life is short, and it’ll disappear before you know it. You can’t let any opportunities pass you by, because they may never come again. Pardon my rudeness, but I think this view is nothing more than thinly veiled cowardice. Sure, I chose to play five hours of Super Smash Brothers Brawl and spend that much less time on my paper than you, and sure, you may have gotten a couple of grades above mine in the class, but at the end of day, now that we’re both graduated, is that going to matter? Will you have gained anything that it is not still within my capacity to gain? Will you gain anything that will make me say, “Man, I wish I’d spent more time listening in Chaney’s class.”?

No, you won’t.

Life is one huge, giant adventure, and all these people telling us that life is short need to shut the hell up. If God is real, do you think he gave us this wondrous grand adventure that we can ride for years and years, all so that we can just run around telling people chokingly awful, boring cliches like, “Life is short, pray hard!” or “Blink and you’ll miss it!” or “Before you know it, you’ll be thirty!” or “It goes so fast!”

NO. NO. NO.

If there’s one thing my four years at college have taught me, it’s this – EVERYTHING in this world is part of this grand experience we call life. It’s not up to you, or anyone for that matter to tell the video gamer that he’s wasting away his life if he plays a couple of hours of Halo or Brawl or GTA4 every day; it’s not up to you, gamers, to disparage those who choose to throw themselves, heart, mind, and soul into their studies. Why can’t we live together and accept each other’s interests for what they are instead of labeling some as more smart, or more achieving than others, and others as the scum of society or boring underachievers? Who decides what is achieving and who doesn’t? You? Then what kind of person would I be if I just conformed to somebody else’s standards? Certainly not the kind of person I could ever think of respecting. I would disgust myself because I would have let somebody else’s ideals of who I should be and where I should go overtake that mattered to me and to God and to absolutely NOBODY else.

These past four years have flown by, but in a greater sense, I’ve lived some of the fullest life I’ve ever lived in them, and let me tell you, a lot of it had absolutely nothing to do with studies or books or classes or professors. Nope, some of it had to do with playing Brawl with Ian, going to Sully’s every Tuesday/Monday night, being told to shut up by Emily, Lola, Megan, and Kristin’s landlords, or sharing a special moment with a loved one.

In the film Magnolia, an old man on his death bed says to his nurse, “Don’t let anyone tell you life is short. It’s long, it’s too fucking long.”

I disagree and agree with this statement. I don’t think it’s too short or too long. I think it’s just right, and only you can decide what it’s going to be for you. Life is too amazing and too awesomely beautiful, in so so so so so so many ways to disparage God’s gift and do nothing but call it short. If the only reason you’re doing as much as you can is because you feel like you need to cram before a final, why are you doing it at all?

My life, with my Wii and my PS2 and my 200+ DVD collection and my close friends and far-away friends, and my family, and now my graduation, with my dinky minimum wage jobs about to pay my way through the summer, are just as full as yours.

I don’t want anyone to think this is a attack on them personally – it’s just my addressing a commentary that I often found being made towards people of our age – that life will be over before we know it and that we should just live as much as possible in what little time we have. I think this is a false illusion that we don’t need. I wrote in my capstone paper that life can be lived just as fully walking to 7-11 at one AM in the morning as it can be talking with a friend into the early hours of the morning or spending a few hours working on a paper- they are three experiences that can’t be equated, but that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, and don’t you ever try to tell me that it does.

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