“There’s something about returning to a place when you were someone else and a place that changed you that makes time kind of stop and speed up all at the same time.”
I typed this to my friend Lisa as we had our usual conversations. She had been talking about her recent trip back to Logan, where we had met during college, and how healing it was to be there. When I think of Logan, UT and Utah State University my heart swells with pride. But every time I go back there it is a bittersweet experience.
My college years were instrumental in creating the person I am today. I’m sure many people can say the same thing. As I look back and reflect on the feelings that were burned into my soul, the people who changed my course and the experiences that sculpted me, I’m so grateful. But it also hurts. Because those things that create the most change, even when they are wonderful and have great outcomes, hurt the most. Change is never easy, though it is necessary and dependably constant.
When I turn the corner in Sardine Canyon where you can finally see Cache Valley, when I drive down Main Street and up 4th north to campus, when I walk through the student center or step into the Spectrum, all of it comes rushing back. Who I was, what I went through, who I became and how I got there. It’s a lot of emotions to feel at once and I feel emotions very deeply.
This week is graduation at USU. It will mark four years since I myself graduated from college. I have now officially been out of college as long as I was in it. Time goes by so fast. Sometimes it feels too fast.
Since then I have other experiences that have changed me even more. Heartbreaks, disappointments, job changes, new friends and family…so many things that continue to shape me. Maybe part of the bittersweet is that I look back at that girl 4-8 years ago and I miss her. The girl I see in the mirror today is not the same one who clung tightly to her parents as they dropped her off at college half way across the country, the girl who experienced academic failure for the first time, the girl who had to figure out her religious convictions on her own or the girl who walked across that stage to collect her diploma, terrified that she didn’t have a plan for the future. While I’m so glad I have progressed…part of me misses her. I think that is just part of life.
All of those girls will forever be a part of me, a part of my soul. I think the most I can do is be grateful for the time I had as each one of them and enjoy the girl I am now. Because soon life will change and the girl I am today will not know the girl of tomorrow.