“With a photographic memory
I could live in a time that used to be.”– Greg Ham
The past weekend was a miracle of happenstance. Well back in the summer I decided to purchase football tickets for one game at my alma mater. I also wanted to bring my family. So, a lot of factors played into my decision of which game to take them to.
I went to school in Fort Worth. The weather is a little more unpredictable than it is at home. If you buy the tickets for early in the season you’ll be guaranteed a win, but you’ll also come out more sunburned than what you came in. If you buy the tickets for the latter part of the year there is always the possibility of having it be cold or rainy.
So, October seemed perfect and it ended up being an opponent where the game should be competitive (it wasn’t but you can’t plan everything). It just so happens that the weekend I picked was also homecoming weekend. It just so happens that the weekend I picked happened to be the 25th reunion for my graduating class.
That in of itself is a long story since I graduated in December. So, I was class of 1996, but I really wasn’t. It should have been 1997, but these things are complicated. I caught myself doing the same thing everyone else does when they see people honored at halftime. My first thought was, “who are all of those old people down there.” That thought process quickly switched to, “gee, do I know any of them?”
As I was pointing out landmarks to my wife and daughter it hit me like a ton of bricks. There was more different than there was the same. It’s then that you can’t really control the flood of emotions. It’s an unholy mixture of nostalgia, jealousy, and lack of connection. I could say the same of the new high school that sits on the same plot of land as my old one. I know people of my age and older can relate to these feelings.
I never knew why older people behaved the way that they did. The usual sentiment when someone wanted to renovate a school or make additions was to utter that “it was good enough for me so it should be good enough for you.” So, why do we need that new gym or that new addition with new science classrooms? Why do we need to spruce up the library? Why do we need to invest in new infrastructure so the kids can use their technology in the building? We didn’t need any of that crap.
If you don’t check yourself it is fairly easy to find yourself going down a different rabbit hole. It’s easy to find yourself talking about how unfair it is that these kids have it so nice. Why do they get the nicer dorms? Why did they get the new student center? It’s not fair that they got all of this new stuff. Think of what we would have done with all of this new stuff.
Give into those feelings and you become “get off my lawn” guy. It’s a slow but slippery descent that can creep up on you seemingly overnight. One minute you feel like a progressive kind of guy (or gal) that seems to know what’s hip and what’s going on. The next you’re just lost in a haze and wondering what the kids are doing and how they got to be so young.
Get off my lawn guy is bitter and hates change. Get off my lawn guy doesn’t want to spend any tax dollars improving things because they were good enough for him (or her) and they should be good enough for you. Get off my lawn guy is the one that starts every story off with a “back in my day…” Get off my lawn guy is the guy (or gal) that we all swore we would never become when we were young.
Some of us have become get off my lawn guy. Some of us haven’t. The deciding factor is how we deal with change. When we see that new school on the grounds where we went to school are we happy? Do we appreciate that we are all better off when today’s children get the very best? Do we realize that we got better facilities than those 25 or 30 years ahead of us? In terms of the alma mater, the better than the school is now the more prestigious my degree really is. So, let the kids have their new dorm and their new student union. Maybe it will be there for my daughter if she chooses to go there.