Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Learning and Life's Lessons

My dad was certain that I was going to go to college.  The reason was that he determined that I was one of those 'college' kids.  He never said it outright but he didn't really like college kids.  He saw them as people who were not normal, they thought about things he didn't care about, and he saw them as useless outside of doctors and astronauts.  It wasn't an insult, he never directly thought about it I think, but he did tell me, "people like you talk about things that don't make sense".  He would, late in life, say things like Alex is different, he isn't like the rest of us.  I know he meant that in a good way.  But, until he got used to the fact that I was me, he didn't mean it that way.

I am a person who didn't do well in college in the beginning.  My world had been very small, enclosed in a very controlled environment. I hadn't developed an ability to live alone, work well on my own, and deal with being in forced solitude.  But some of that fell under the weight of a situation that had circumstances that should never have existed.  That said, year one was a disaster.  And the lesson I learned was that you can write to people, and call them, but if you are not in their physical presence, you are not there.  You are invisible.  Friends turn to dust if they were never truly friends.

But, year two taught me a great deal more.  I had gone from a college near home, and family, and former friends, to a university 5 hours away, with no familiar faces, no means of escape, and I had to either adapt or die.  I met my two best friends that year.  And had experiences that would follow me to this day.  My professors were miles and miles ahead of the previous year, and I couldn't get calls at 6 am from concerned relatives trying to motivate me to go to college courses.

And I learned more than scholastic lessons.  I met my wife.  I learned that people will treat you poorly if they can, and that people can do great things as well.  The college courses that I took were incredibly eye opening, and beyond anything I'd ever engaged prior.  There were events that had happened in the past that I had never been exposed to, and I'd never have believed if I hadn't been exposed to in university.

The biggest lesson I was taught, was that whatever I might believe, and think, there are many millions of people in the world who think the opposite and don't give a shit about my beliefs, and how sincerely I believe in them.   Everyone has personal experiences that effect their outlook, and simple words do not change that.  People need proof, and facts, sometimes more.

I also kissed my first woman then, and had my first real date in college.  But depression really stole my chances for a good time in college.  Life is like that, you move forward.  It is all you can do.

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