It’s Saturday morning. It’s storming out – so no golf lessons for the boys today – which presents the perfect opportunity for me to enjoy a leisurely cup of caffeinated heaven and indulge in some light reading. The first thing I pick up is the University of Western Ontario’s Alumni Gazette. As usual, I flip through it quickly, looking for snippets on people I used to know until I reach the last page, where I find an interesting piece written by Paul Wells, BA ’89.
Paul is now a well-respected political columnist with MacLean’s Magazine, but back in the day, he was a student just like so many of us. I didn’t know him (at least I don’t think I did – frankly, it’s all a bit of blur at this point), but the nostalgia of the glory days he writes about sums up summers spent in hometown’s past quite succinctly for most of us: That peaceful calm that descends over a city during school’s off-season; the fun of getting up close to our favourite bands at the local pub; planning but never getting around to completing (or starting) that mega reading list of important must-read books; the crushes - ah, so much cuteness wasted on too much awkwardness; the late night chats with great friends, set to an awesome soundtrack of whatever latest musical genius; and of course, the necessary summer job.
It’s fun for all of us to look back. Reading Paul’s article absolutely made me smile, but at the same time I am absolutely content to be where I am in this stage of life. None of us are the same as we were back then and that’s a really good thing. At 21, I was idealistic, distracted, and always searching outside of myself for something fundamental, yet elusive, I believed I was missing that would make me feel worthy.
The true gift of time is that it provides us with a mature perspective and an opportunity to grow into our own authenticity. I wouldn’t trade the memories of my youth for anything, but I don’t have any desire to relive them, either - I’ll leave that to my boys!