Why do we claim every year that this year went by faster than the previous? And we’re often left wondering, did we do enough? Did we? Did I? The last three years I spent at university have flown by, as cliché and garbage as it sounds. I wonder if I did enough, was enough, studied enough. Did I eat enough good food? Did I spend enough time with the people that I care about? Did I go to the beach or wrote as much as I should have?
Did I drink enough cider at the small English pubs? How many times did I said ‘no’ when I should’ve said yes? And how many times did I say ‘yes’ when I really should’ve said no. I went to a university next to the sea, how many times did I get in the water? None. How long is it going to take me to learn that all feelings are valid.
How many nights did I spend alone in my bedroom hunched over a glowing computer screen? How many pills did I take? I’ve lost count. How many packets of cigarettes did I smoke? How many empty wine bottle corpses did I leave behind? Did I fix my sleeping schedule even for a moment during those three years? The answer is, probably, definitely not.
How many nights did I spend at the library? Too many? Not enough? Did I spend too much time around people who didn’t give a fuck about me? Or appreciate me for me. Did I make the effort, that was never returned to me by others? Or maybe it was me who wasn’t enough? Did writing countless dull essays and a dissertation ruin writing for me?
What will I do after graduation? Why am I not doing a masters’ degree, like most people around me? The smart, the safe move? Because it sounds boring, too safe. I want to get out there and live. Though haven’t I already been living?
How many feelings did I leave hanging in the air? Because I couldn’t be bothered to talk about them. How many hugs and kisses unplanted? Aren’t you supposed to figure your life out at university? Learn more about yourself and the world around you? But the more I know, the less I know. Dare I say I feel even more lost than I did before university?
Am I strong? Am I stronger than before? Have I grown? As a person and in inches? How many words have I written all together in these three years? How many photos have I taken? Or been in? Or avoided being in? And why on earth do I want people to know and not know at the same time what I’m writing? Or what I’m doing?
Have I written enough for myself? Read for fun? Listened to new songs? I mean really listened. How many hours of Netflix have I binged? How many movies did I watch? And re-watch? How many times did I cut my own hair? Paint my nails? Do things just because I wanted to, and that reason alone was enough.
How many poems did I write? How many tears did I shed? How many times I cried over words or over people? How many rejections or heartbreaks? How many hangovers? How many times did I vomit up last nights’ regrets? Walk home alone? Walk down the same road, the same aisle in the grocery store, the same corridor at the library?
Did I tell my therapist the truth every time I saw her? Did I buy books on top of books and never got around to reading them? Absolutely. How many times did I miss my dogs, or go home just because I missed them and I thought my heart would explode if I didn’t get to see them? Funny how animals can offer us consolation in a way humans can’t.
How many seashells did I collect? How many candles did I burn? Or how many lipsticks did I finish? None, I finished none. Maybe lost a few, but I’ve never finished one, not one. How many times did I really feel connected? I mean that electricity in the air kind of connection, the thick air and crashing thunder before the first raindrop.
How many times I didn’t pay enough attention in a lecture? Or missed class because my bed decided to hold me hostage. Or sat in silence with myself? Did I pay enough attention to myself, my body? Looked at myself and asked what I truly needed or wanted. Had I taken good care of my heart?
Was I always nice to waiting staff? Did I smile enough? What was the ratio of my smiles vs frowns during the last three years? Did I message my mum enough? Had I forgiven myself for throwing away or re-gifting presents once given to me?
What new habits have I developed? And when will I learn what those habits really are, if ever? The last three years have produced more questions than answers. But that’s okay, because I’ve been young for so long and old for hardly any time at all. And there is still time.