I achieved my undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky (a long time ago). I came to UK as a transfer student, so I didn’t get to partake in all the freshman stuff. But still it was a great experience. The shear size of UK overwhelmed me, coming from a small
town as I did. I vividly recall walking from my dorm on the edge of campus (Blanding Tower, if you know UK) to central campus, where most of my classes were. That walk was long, took forever, especially in the winter. The expanse between buildings was wide and the buildings were all huge.
Then, this week, I had the time and opportunity to walk that same route again. The memories that came flowing out were rich and rewarding. But the revelations about all the time that has passed since those daily walks were even better. Here are some of the more significant of those revelations:
- What seemed huge at 20, now seems rather normally sized. Those huge buildings with wide lawns separating them? They now seem rather small. It is experience that changed my perspective. Growing up in a small town, my world experience at 20 was of small buildings and small spaces. Everything seemed big and scary as I headed to the big university. Now, having visited many of the world’s largest cities with its large buildings and expansive lawns, UK’s central campus seems very quaint and welcoming.
- I felt a certain kinship with all the students I passed on my trip through campus. I was a bit embarrassed as I realized I expected to see someone I knew. I became a 20 year old student again during that walk, remembering my days on campus, the classes I took (and skipped), the friends, the football games, the weekend parties. All of a sudden I was transported to that time in my life, but with the perspective of a 50 something professional, and I liked what I saw.
- The things that seem scary will soon become familiar, even comfortable. Experience teaches us to lose the fear and embrace the adventure. I am still not a particularly adventurous soul, but I am less afraid of the unknown than I ever have been. Perhaps I know I will survive, despite my fears. And perhaps I have begun to appreciate the rush that comes with fear conquered.
- We should stop and appreciate our experiences more often. I had meant to walk through that campus for many years, but just never found the time. Why is that? A half hour out of my life is a small thing, but that half hour brought me much pleasure. I won’t wait another 35 years, and I will be more likely to “waste” time with other simple pleasures, too.
What have you been meaning to do and have just not “had the time” for? Is now the time?