Monday, 4/24/17, 11:52 am, 2nd floor of the Davis student center at the University of Vermont in Burlington. The place is buzzing. People everywhere chatting, laughing, reading, web surfing, eating, Snapping, sleeping, writing, etc. Outdoorsy brand logo’s flash left and right – the brand managers of Patagonia, Lowe, Birkenstock, Burton, North Face, Osprey, Nalgene, Apple would be proud. All of this against a backdrop of yellow and green – Catamount colors.
25 years ago I sat here on this campus as a UVM college senior on the verge of graduating. This particular student center was not here but the hustle and bustle was just the same. Looking out across the sea of students is forcing my own look back. On the one hand, it feels good to be back in a familiar place, subconsciously and consciously reliving some of the best memories of my life. It’s also a stark reminder of how fucking clueless I was at that time in my life – about myself, my path, my passions, fears, strengths and weaknesses. The glass half full definition of this mind state might call it “innocence” or “lacking wisdom.” Note to my daughter: you won’t find a college class on HOW to acquire wisdom.
The difference today is that (like every kid around me) I too am staring into a laptop. Note: these devices didn’t exist in 1992, we used pen and paper or desktop PC’s chained to the desk in the library. But the greater disparity is what I’m dealing with right here right now – things, beliefs, concepts, actions I could never have predicted I’d be caught up in. It’s probable that my mind in late April of 1992 was consumed by a hangover, or the cute girl across the room, or about the test I should have been studying for, about finding a pal to smoke a joint, or about whether I should grab a burrito in the cafeteria or falafel at the food truck. Today my brain is wrapped around managing a media/entertainment company, launching an info-marketing company, leading a personal development retreat, building community, and learning the art of parenting. Shit, rather than talking smack about my own shenanigans this past weekend (like literally 5 students are doing right next to me), I’m on the phone planning dinner logistics for my two kids at home alone while I scramble to lead my eldest daughter through this one final college tour. These complexities are rich and rewarding and of course the source of grey hair. But they are also wildly different from when I was 21 years old and staring at this thing called “life beyond college.” Makes you ask yourself the question: if you could roll back time, what would you have wanted to learn or know before getting started?