Sep 062011
Authors: Allison Sylte

On Sunday afternoon, I had an epiphany: Sometimes, I am more like an elderly person than a college student.

This haunting piece of knowledge came to me as I sat in my living room with the blinds drawn, watching Spike TV’s “Star Wars” marathon while wearing ratty sweatpants and a bra I bought at Walgreens, ignoring any and all contact with the outside world.

Outside, my neighbor’s kid was joyously playing, and I could hear the sounds of a faraway Labor Day weekend barbecue. Somewhere in the distance, I even heard laughter. And, rather than thinking about the blissful summer weekend other Fort Collins residents were probably having, all I could think to myself was ‘man, I hope that damn kid stays the hell away from my lawn!’
I live in an apartment.

It’s not like I’m this lazy all the time. The day before, I climbed Longs Peak, and the day before that, I went on a long run and went as far as to socialize with my friends. But even on Longs, as I sat at Boulder Field watching the sunrise, I acted like I was in a nursing home.

“You know what I really want?” I asked the friend I persuaded to hike with me. “I want one of those foam roller things to loosen up my muscles and stuff. I just feel like that would be so nice.”

My friend raised an eyebrow, a look of regret flashing across her eyes when she realized she had to spend the rest of the day with me.

“That’s cool,” she said sarcastically. “My dad has one of those to get blood clots out of his legs.”

Call me crazy, but I’m really, really jealous of old people. Larry King, Betty White, Barbara Walters and all of the Desperate Housewives are by far my favorite celebrities, and whenever I come in contact with an old person, no matter what I’m doing, be it exercising, partying or working on an assignment for my beloved Collegian, I’ve just got to talk to them. It’s magnetic.

The elderly rock for one simple reason: They’ve reached that point in their lives where they have pretty much everything figured out. They can chill and watch life pass them by, and they don’t care about what people think because, hey, they’re going to die soon anyway.

As for college students, I feel like we aren’t quite that lucky. We’re at a weird point in our lives when we’re independent and past all of that wild experimentation from high school, and now we’re trying to figure out who we really are, and what our lives are really going to be.

We live, more or less, in a constant frenzy. We’re trying to find boyfriends and later to keep those boyfriends, to find jobs and then to find success. At this point, we are more or less power walking through life, because the pressure’s on. These are the years that are going to determine, at least inadvertently, what we are going to become.

It’s pretty awesome. Every day I feel ridiculously grateful to have the chance to even be in college, since I know there are an infinite number of people who have it way worse, but by the same token, it’s also pretty exhausting.

As I look into the future, sometimes I can’t help but wonder if this whole journalism degree will ever pan out, or if I’ll just live in a cardboard box, surrounded by a bunch of other liberal arts majors. I wonder if I’ll still stay in contact with my friends, or if I’ll be wistfully discussing my lost college days with my cat, wondering what the heck ever became of those crazy kids I spent so many hours with.

If I play my cards right, I’ve got another 60 years ahead of me, and I have no idea what those long years will bring. Maybe in the future, I’ll own a jetpack or a lightsaber (fingers crossed!) or I’ll move to Botswana. Maybe when I’m 40, I’ll be one of the cougars who hang out at the Drunken Monkey.

I really have no clue.

Sometimes I wish I had that feeling of contentment that I hear comes with old age — that notion that you’ve done the best you can do and now you can relax. But at this point in my life, my world really is entirely filled with possibilities. I’ve got a few years left until I spend my days sitting at Perkins, thinking wistfully about a past that was filled with uncertainty.

On second thought, maybe I’m more of a college student than an elderly person after all.

_Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at _

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