BY RUBY GORDON//
I saw a post on instagram today saying, “Congrats to the GW Class of 2023 for making it halfway to graduation!” How? I don’t know if I can believe I have made it through nearly two years of college. When I saw the post, my immediate thought was “How did I let roughly 730 days slip through my fingers?” I jumped to my camera roll to see the entirety of my time in college thus far captured in images and I found moments of joy, sadness, melancholy, and contentment. Physical evidence of time crawling forward. Our first song, Dr. Dog’s “Where’d All the Time Go” is the perfect accompaniment to my mildly-panicked memory session. One of my favorite lyrics goes, “Where’d all the time go? // It’s starting to fly // See how the hands go // Waving goodbye.” Honestly, I don’t think I have let time slip by but my heart hurts a little with the inevitable change that is approaching me.
There’s a strange kind of contentment that comes with being sad about how time continues to move and things continue to evolve. Regardless of this sadness, I seem to always find myself with a clear happiness that arises from looking forward to the fruits of the future and what is next. It’s a feeling I have had frequently these past couple weeks. Kacey Musgraves’ “Happy & Sad” suits my cautious melancholia perfectly. Kacey sings about how everything is lovely and glowing, but she is waiting for the other shoe to drop, saying, “I don’t mind at all, no, I am used to fallin’ // I’m comfortable when the sky is gray // But when everything is perfect, I start hidin’ // I know that rain is comin’ my way.” I relate to the feeling of being so happy with how everything is, but sad and scared of losing it all. The pandemic has intensified this feeling for me. I have to often remind myself that I do not need to make up for the lost time the pandemic has taken from me. I just need to move forward and relish the moments I have and the people I am with.
The people I am with are what makes my life special. It sounds so cliche to say that every moment is precious, but that isn’t even an exaggeration. Being in a van back from practice with teammates, sitting on the steps of the Lincoln with friends, or standing in line at Whole Foods with a roommate are all instances when I just think to myself, “Damn, life is good sometimes.” In their song “Guys,” The 1975 expresses their gratitude for platonic soulmates, chiming “You guys are the best thing that has ever happened to me.” It’s true.
The next song is “Supercut” by Lorde. My friend Mallory likes to describe this song as the type of music that plays in the background of coming-of-age montages. In “Supercut,” Lorde dreams up an
idealized version of a young relationship, only the perfect clips appear; but it is only a dream-like fantasy. It is only a supercut of the best, most idealistic memories. This past year has sucked for everyone, but when I run through my memories of the past year I remember the feeling of going to Walmart for the first time after lockdown ended, wearing scuba goggles while swimming in the ocean with my sister, group facetimes with my freshman year roommates, and how good it felt to reunite with so many people when I finally got to D.C. in January. I don’t think my supercut of memories from the past year erases the pain, but rather it clings to occasions that made me feel alive despite it all.
In his song “Blue World,” Mac Miller raps through reflections on his life now and how far he has come. He references taking drives with a former love and attempting to overcome addiction with the refrain going “Hey, one of these days // We’ll all get by // Don’t be afraid // Don’t fall.” For me, a large piece of my young adulthood has been me promising myself that I’ll make it out to the other side. Kind of like a “this too shall pass” occurrence. Taking things one day at a time first semester freshman year, one hour at a time during quarantine, one shift at a time during my summer job, and one drill at a time when I am at practice. I will get by. Don’t be afraid. Don’t fall.
The perfect closing of this wistfully nostalgic public overshare is Kanye West’s “Ghost Town.” Kanye cries out about the exhaustion of experiencing a constant stream of emotional highs and lows, and trying to find a place somewhere in the middle. “Ghost Town” explores themes of rejection and lovelessness are juxtaposed against Kanye’s utterances of feeling completely free and joyfully invincible. I hear the song as an anthem for drifting young people, with these lyrics standing out to me,
“Someday the drama’ll be gone // And they’ll play this song on and on // Sometimes I take all the shine // Talk like I drank all the wine // Years ahead but way behind // I’m on one, two, three, four, five // No half-truths, just naked minds // Caught between space and time // This not what we had in mind // But maybe some day”
As I approach the end of my sophomore year of college, I feel years ahead but way behind and caught between space and time. Stuck somewhere in between crippling self-doubt and dangerous levels of confidence. Change is coming whether I am ready for it or not. I am still hurting but also thriving, doped up on the warming spring sun and clinging to a ray of hope shining through the clouds. Yeah, I don’t really know who I am yet, but honestly I am not in any rush. I am just here, reveling in the joy and experiencing the pain.
– “Where’d All the Time Go?” Dr. Dog
– “Happy & Sad” Kacey Musgraves
– “Guys” The 1975
– “Supercut” Lorde
– “Blue World” Mac Miller
– “Ghost Town” Kanye West