I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit jealous. 18 years old, just moving out and starting the whole college adventure. Yesterday I was looking through photos from a trip I took my junior year and realized that I looked noticably younger then. I still carry my college ID with me, and that face looks younger too. I'm a grown up now. It's tough to say that, because I really like being young and really appreciated those years there.
But in a way, it's cool, too. Given the choice I wouldn't go back. I was pretty stupid back then, but just smart enough to know it, that's what was tough. Spent too much time with the wrong people and not enough time with the right people. Didn't really know how to get out and get into a town and friends. I was quiet. I look at my social circle now and who I pick to spend time with and it's all working so much better, because I know who I am and what to say and a lot more about the way people are.
In college, you never really leave your work or worries behind you, there's always school, looming like a cloud over whatever you do and you have to get really drunk to not think about it. It's not like high school, where the teacher gives you homework and if you do it all, you're caught up. It's not like real life, where you leave your job at work and don't have to give it a thought outside of your normal 8-10 hour day. By my senior year of college I was lusting hard for an 8-10 hour day. I would have taken 12. Anything was better than that waking-to-sleeping project work that I was killing myself over.
It's fun to sit around and daydream about going back there, but when I really think about it it's equally cool to think about going back to being 10 and climbing the tree in our front yard with my little friends. Or running track in high school. Or being 23 and having my first job and apartment.
Or I could just go back to last week, when I finally got to sit in the right seat of the airplane who's display system I helped design while we taxied around to do calibration. That's something I'll never forget, and it took me all 25 years to get to that point but it was amazing. Then I remember that every moment I felt uncomfortable and naive being 18, my only hope was that at 25, I'd be better and smarter and more with it. Going back is fun to think about, but so far, going forward has worked out pretty well, you know?