In preparation for the annual President's Day get together my college friends partake in each year, I just dragged out my photo album from those four, unforgettable years and, once again, shuffled through the pages. When creating that photo album, really the only one I've ever taken the time to work on, I taped a piece of white paper, torn at the edges, on the cover. "I love college" is written in black marker - happy, careless handwriting. Surely it was a decoration from our door, room 410 Loretto Hall, freshman year. Erin and I had the thing plastered with everything from clip art drawings we'd made on my computer to a call-girl type ad from the yellow pages..."Ladies of Distinction." Ah, college. But besides rooting through those memories - the Halloween party where we drank my homemade harvest punch down to the last drop and I wore my orange dress and a crown - the Head of the Charles on a perfect, sunny, brisk day - the days when Priya and my dorm in Danielson was accidentally hooked up with two phone lines instead of one, in the same room, and we could talk at the same time, to each other, if we wanted - my burnt letter of rejection from the Oxford program in the sink - I suppose I was interested in looking at the album because, lately, I've been thinking a lot about twenty-seven.
I'm not going to spew off thoughts about how I'm "old" because I'm not, or about how times have changed, which naturally, they have (would it be healthy if they hadn't?). I will say this, however: I've been wondering lately how I spent my youth - not that it's over, just that, well, I'll be getting married soon, moving someplace new someday and I've been asking myself questions about what I did, and do, with my time. Everything from, Did I have a different style years ago? to, Did I watch too much television? What hobbies have I kept up with? and Am I a good friend?
I don't think this sort of intense self-reflection is necessarily bad if practiced only once in while. And the thing is, tonight it made me feel good. It made me feel good about being twenty-seven. Certainly I've made some close friends since college, some of my best friends in fact. But there on those pages, in between little notations I'd written ("The Back Bay Ball," Junior year - London," "Priya's 21st," and of course, "Halloween Party") are these faces, some of whom I'll see in just a few days, who are crucial participants in these memories of such fun and interesting things. The questions I ask myself don't really matter as much while looking back and realizing that, oh yes, I've certainly had a good time. It's been an important, emotional, eventful, hysterical, and sometimes difficult time since leaving high school (a different period which I've already established in the annals of my mind as as full of amazingly poignant memories) and launching into the Adult Life.
Now I am twenty-seven and a picture of Rochelle staring at the camera through an empty paper towel roll or of Natalia, Brian and I laughing hysterically on the tiny bed at Silver Sands motel in Jamaica because Slavomir had just stuck his head in the ceiling fan while taking our picture is enough to remind me that these years have been worth telling stories about and still are.