Thursday, June 14, 2007

Halcyon

First of all, halcyon has about 5 different definitions. It can really mean anything you want. It can alternately mean calm, prosperous, carefree, joyful, or refer to a mythical bird. Anyway, I decided on a whim this morning to listen to "Crash" by Dave Matthews Band. I haven't listened to that whole album in years and when I put it on I had a literal visceral reaction. I don't recall having that type of reaction to music since I was 17 and this album came out. It was strange in an unexpected way. It wasn't like hearing a song you love and thinking, "Wow, I love this song" (like when I hear "Don't Stop Believing" the Journey classic. I know what you're asking yourself, Side Bar, and the answer is no, I will never let this go.) Anyway, this post isn't about a Dave Matthews album that none of you like, just about the feeling.

I was immediately brought back to my senior year of high school and I was just thinking about how awesome that year was. It wasn't quite nostalgia, but I guess that's the best word for it. I guess another piece of the puzzle is that all the seniors at my school are graduating and I've been signing lots of yearbooks recently and asking them what they're going to be in life and such (for the record they're all going to Queens College or Queensboro Community College or LaGuardia Community College).

So the question really is, why do all of us generally look back at those times as the best of our lives? This is hardly a deep thought, nor is it a hard answer, but I never really thought about it until just now. The reason my senior year of high school was one of the times I look back on with such joy is because the ratio of freedom to responsibility was enormously high. The combination of having a drivers license, access to a car, a minimal amount of school work and essentially no responsibility at home (even though I had more than most at that point) leads to being able to do anything I wanted within minutes of thinking of it. Add to that the fact that I'm not hard to please, and it's a recipe for happiness. Today I wouldn't be able to attend every single varsity basketball game at all corners of the state, but in 1996 I did. Today I wouldn't be able to decide to see a 9pm movie at 8:50, but I did a lot of that back then.

And I don't think that was the best year of my life, or the most fulfilling, it was just the most freedom I've had. So it was fun.

Anyway, I don't have a point. Sorry for wasting your time.

3 comments:

Joe said...

I agree, man.

The final year of high school has lots of fun and a little drama.

But even that drama, in hindsight, is nothing important.

So, from the perspective of today, it's basically a time that was all free time and fun, almost zero work and responsibility.

Goldie said...

I don't know, call me crazy, but Senior year of high school wasn't so great.

Maybe compared to any other year of high school, perhaps, but to my mind, every year of college beats any year of high school every time. Way more freedom, even less time spent in class than high school, more interesting topics to learn about with better teachers to learn from AND the ability to choose from more fun things to do in your vast free time 10 minutes after thinking about them.

Max said...

When you first experience the freedom of being able to drive, that jump trumps all other freedoms you get later (like turning 21, etc...)

For that reason alone, senior year of high school is nostalgic for people. We take it for granted now - remember when you weren't allowed to drive by yourself?!?