A few weeks ago, Mr. KK came in with the mail, and my college alumni magazine was on top. I flipped through mindlessly, looking at pictures of a campus I no longer recognized, ambitious students participating in activities that never used to exist, and wedding and baby photos of young, fresh-faced alums who didn’t seem like they could be more than 20 years old.
At the end of the magazine is always a section on “class news”, and each graduating year is broken out with little snippets that people share; new jobs, career and family milestones and, sadly, deaths.
When it comes to my college years, my memory is pretty lacking. I don’t mean that in a “Wow, I partied those four years away and it’s all a such a big blur!” way. Instead, it’s like I just didn’t commit names, faces and events to my memory. Or if I did, they are no longer there. And, of course, it causes my college roommates to make fun of me, question whether or not I even attended the same school as they did. (NOTE: I did.)
So when I scanned the class news section for our graduating year, and the graduation years above and below us (since we DID spend lots of time with those folks, even though I can never remember their names) and saw the obituary for a guy we knew quite well, I had to do a double take.
We lived next to the football team our junior and senior years, and if anyone had ridiculous nicknames for each other, it was these guys. So it took me a minute for this guy’s name – his real name – to register. And even then, I doubted my memory, which didn’t have the best track record. I texted a pic of the obit to my friends just to double check I wasn’t crazy, and sure enough, our friend “Good Times” had passed away.
When did we get so…old?
I was never particularly close with Good Times, however one of my roommates spent quite a bit of time with him during – and after – college. But no matter how well I knew him, or how much we hung out, the three of us were stunned to see his name in print. Someone we were friends with in college died.
The realization was a little scary: my friends and I were at the age, when classmates could just start dying. Sure, we’d lost a few others over the years to tragic accidents. But to think that people our age may start passing away due to illness or medical conditions, was pretty scary.
That night, one of my roommates scoured the internet looking for answers. She stumbled across Good Times’ Facebook page, which had been turned into a memorial. “I don’t want you to do that to my page,” she told us, referring to the memorial page. One of her biggest worries is what is going to happen to her social media if something should ever happen to her. We reassure her that we will be very kind, and continually tag her in embarrassing photos in the afterlife. (kidding!)
Life is short, be sure to spend it doing things you like.
Social media aside, seeing that someone who had been so full of life (and was always up for a Good Time, hence his nickname) had passed away was pretty sobering. One minute you’re here, and the next you’re…not.
I wouldn’t say that this occurrence renewed my lease on life or anything big and spiritual like that, but it did remind me that life truly IS short. So you should make the best of it while you can. Make time for the things you like to do, say no to stuff that doesn’t interest you and takes up your time. Pick a few items off your ‘to do’ list and make them a priority. Stop and remember the little moments; for me: don’t rush the Little Mister brushing his teeth every morning because we’re running late again; if he wants to get in the car seat by himself as a feat of independence, just let him do it, even though it takes forever; and be the green dinosaur who needs to rescue the lion who fell in the ocean, even though I should be making dinner.
And make sure to have a Good Time, no matter what you’re doing.