So, after reading Melanie's awesome post about how real college ≠ college in an NA novel, I started thinking about how differently my own life is now that I've been out of college for a few years...or basically how mid-to-late twenties ≠ college years. Here is a short list that I've very scientifically compiled while drinking beer on my couch.
Things I did in college that I no longer do:
1. No more mix CDs. I make playlists on Spotify...who doesn't? But gone are the days of wanting to give someone fifteen hand-picked songs with a hand-written song listing (along with three wasted hours of my life.)
2. No more procrastinating! Well, I procrastinate on things that adults do, like grocery shopping and scrubbing the tub. But now when I have a writing deadline or a programming deadline at the library, I am on that shit. Because you know what? Four years of blearily rubbing my eyes at three in the morning, trying to pull a five-page paper about Faulkner out of my ass, taught me that procrastination isn't worth the pain.
3. Sleeeeeep. I used to pull all-nighters, mostly-nighters and semi-nighters on a regular basis. I used to stay up late watching pointless shows on the Food Network and updating my Xanga, hanging out with friends, partying and drinking. And then I'd pop out of bed at seven to go to class or go to work. This is the insanity of youth.
4. Actual food. Sometimes I wince thinking about the things I put into my body when I was nineteen. Week-old ramen noodles that I tried to make palatable again with some crusty A-1 sauce I found in the fridge; jungle juice made with Kool-aid and mixed in a bucket that had just had the sand rinsed out of it; Taco Bell. I may not win Ms. Whole Foods 2013, but I'm certainly at least eating things digestible to humans now.
5. Rereading. The wonderful and horrible thing about being a writer is that you want to read everything that you come across and eventually you acquire a to-be-read pile about seven miles high (and a cranky spouse who's tired of moving a miniature library from house to house.) But when I was in college, I was still a baby writer who had a fairly narrow idea of the books that were out there. That meant I did a lot of rereading LOTR and Harry Potter and old Christopher Pikes and you know, I'm so sad I don't do that anymore. There are so many books I've read just in this past year that I wish I could go back and reread because they are so wonderful.
6. Angst. Okay, I still angst. But instead of it being about boys and music and friends, it's about deadlines and the cat litter. (God, adults are boring.)
So there you have it: some things about growing up are boring but ultimately better (goodbye Ramen!) But college was also one of the most insanely creative times of my life---the time where I spent my hours daydreaming about stories I could write and devouring the same beloved books over and over. Where I listened to music and imagined movies in my head, where I sought out other writers, where I wrote whatever crazy thing came to mind, because why not? College was a frenzy of homework and drinking and fun, and even with all its pain and insanity and frittered-away-hours, I wouldn't trade my time there for the world.