Monday, July 23, 2012

The Best Years of Your Life?

I spent the weekend pretending I was a college student, and I had a blast.  No, I wasn’t out playing beer-pong or dancing. Nor was I studying Proust or writing a paper on Beowulf.
 I was in Pittsburgh visiting my son (who actually graduated from college here last year but now has an apartment and a “real” job). But while my husband and he did the heavy lifting of moving him into new digs (I was excused due to potential back problems!) I sat in his old bachelor pad with my computer. For an entire afternoon and morning I was completely alone. No need to make dinner. No need to clean anything. Just working on my computer, and imagining that I was on my own again. Pure bliss!
            Now, of course, I don’t really want to return to my college days. I’m not mentioning all those term papers, all-nighters, and emotional entanglements. I don’t really want to live in a dorm again or in a third-floor walk up with eclectic décor (the décor in my own home is eclectic enough as it is), with a kitchen you can scarcely turn around in, and no dining room table.
            So what I mean by I was pretending I was a college student really had nothing to do with the actual experience of being in college; it was more about the mindset. And the mindset of college, as I fondly and perhaps inaccurately recall, was that it was all about me. It was all about when my paper was due, when I felt like going to dinner at the cafeteria, and whom I would spend my evening with. In college, I basically had no one to think about but myself. It was a very, very different life than the one I live now, in which I pretty much think about everyone else all the time as a mom.
            At a recent Kundalini yoga class I attended, my teacher asked what we do to nurture ourselves. People said things like do yoga, take walks, or eat well. My first thought was “be alone.” Solitude is a golden gift, and just spending a few hours by myself in my son’s messy aerie, gazing out over the Pittsburgh rooftops, revisiting the days when I had nothing to do but take care of me (a full time job as I recall) reminded me of that fact. Yes, yes, I know. It’s not about me (or you, for that matter). But sometimes it’s fun to pretend it is.


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