Time can be deliciously cunning, no? Lulling you into a sense of comfort, of being able to monitor and count the days, the weeks, and the years as they pass by. And then, without even the hint of a warning, rushing you into the present, forcing you to wonder where on earth did all that time go.
My thoughts over the last few weeks have been along somewhat similar lines, albeit more jumbled up, as I gear up to a year-long stint at formal education. This, after what feels like forever, and in reality is almost two decades. I was not even twenty years old when I last walked into formal education, and twenty-four when I last walked out.
It has been a while. Quite a while.
So much has changed, for the good and the not so good.
I like the fact that I now possess a greater sense of clarity, at least when it comes to my education. I know what I want from the master’s experience and have a (rough) idea of how to get there. Compare this to my undergraduate law experience, where, well “clarity” was not the word I would use to describe it. I was amongst that (not so small) group of students who were studying law because they did not want to study engineering nor medicine, and law seemed like a way out.
Looking back, perhaps that was what I needed at that time – to be a little lost and plenty confused.
I also like the fact that with age comes a certain degree of confidence. Of knowing that you have gone through challenging times and managed to see it through somehow. I think this is also deeply connected to the earlier point about clarity – there is a certain amount of ease that comes with knowing what you can (and cannot) do and, most importantly, of knowing that things will work out.
I don’t like the fact that with this confidence, there is also a sense of complacency. Of not being as open to new experiences, and people, and conversations as you might have been when you were younger. Forgive the cliché, but there is a definite reluctance in stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
How this plays out in the classroom will be interesting, and I suspect more than slightly painful.
I also don’t like the physical changes that come with ageing. Forget the creaks and squeaks that are now a part of the morning musical opera of your body, but there is also a very real awareness that you can’t pull those all-nighters anymore, that you need (oh yes you need) those seven or eight hours of sleep, and that the lack of food at predetermined times can and will lead to the rise of The Hanger.
In one sense I know what the days and months to come hold for me; the class structure and syllabus have been shared, the resources have been discussed, the reading lists have been allotted. In another sense, everything is a mystery – how will the classroom discussions be, what will my cohort be like in reality, and where will I fit into all of this.
What I do know is that the future is exciting, and that this feeling of a very real curiosity is quite intoxicating.