Gosh, do you remember what leaving for college felt like?
I barely do.
I do remember that I had an overriding sense that everything was about to change in a big way.
While swimming in a friend’s pool one hot summer night, I remember talking about this with one of my best friends.
Classes were starting in about a week and many of us were leaving town the next day.
Largely inseparable for the last 2 or 3 years – most in my crew were all going different directions.
There was definitely a buzz in the air about it all.
But I felt a sadness in the change. My childhood was over.
Actually: I was so lacking in self-confidence at the time, I was more intimidated than anything.
Truth be told, I feel the same sadness with big life shifts now too.
I KNEW WITH CERTAINTY that I would never be a doctor. I stretched out in the sun, relaxing on a desert plateau just above our house. My uncle, a doctor, like so many of my relatives, had asked me earlier that day what I planned on doing for a career, now that I was heading off to college, and the question barely registered. If you had forced me to answer, I suppose I would have said a writer, but frankly, thoughts of any career at this point seemed absurd. I was leaving this small Arizona town in a few weeks, and I felt less like someone preparing to climb a career ladder than a buzzing electron about to achieve escape velocity, flinging out into a strange and sparkling universe.
-Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air (Amazon)