An old friend came to visit this weekend and it reminded me of a song I learned in my brief stint in the girl scouts--Make New Friends and Keep the Old (one is silver and the other gold). Believe me, you are glad you can't hear me sing it! It made me realize that its been 13 years since I went to work at Kent State as a residence hall director. The people I worked with those four years are some that I am still close to today. Most of us have moved on, I keep in close contact with 2-3 and during the year hear from many of the others. When we worked together we were all single, some were finishing master's degrees, others were working on doctorates, and others were just recovering from one or the other. We worked hard and partied harder. Life as a "grown up" living on a college campus is a strange one, you aren't a student but somehow the real world doesn't seem to fit given the hours you work and the sometimes bizarre situations you find yourself thrown into (which I will write more about in the future--because someone has to!). We were much more than colleagues, we shared a world that few outside of it could really understand and became friends and confidants. Not that long ago we got together during the summer, there were lots of significant others and a few kids thrown into the mix but we played a mean game of "remember when..." the McSweeney 5, PITA, "Apple Hall is not a shithole."
So, 9 years after leaving that world I am married and have 2 kids and 2 stepkids, am living in my own house in the suburbs and working oustide the ivory tower in a job that I stumbled as a temp into while looking for work in my field. I stopped out of the PhD program I was in with half the coursework done and have never returned. Some days I miss university life. My friend, moved on from her days in the residence halls to a job in law enforcement (she carries a gun!) at a huge state school and has finished all the coursework for her PhD. She is single and an intrepid traveler, having gone to England and Scotland last year and returning this year for 7 weeks to do research to finish her degree. Our lives are very different today but spending time with her reminded me of all the good times and why it is good to hang onto the old while you find the new. She remembers me when I was Heather, long before I was Abby & Ellie's Mom and it felt good. I wouldn't trade my life now for anything but its good to remember what was and what other paths might have been taken.