There is something gaping in my chest right now. That might sound bad, but it’s really not; it’s just a feeling that’s been there for this entire past school year, a feeling that I think will continue on into this summer and the fall and the seasons thereafter. It’s not the feeling of what’s missing, but rather the feeling of the things I know I will miss when this stage of my life is over. And it’s made me all the more aware of how much I try—and fail—to capture the moments that pass.
How do you enjoy life when you’re in it? How do you enjoy life as you know it when you don’t have the full context, the full scope, the full understanding of what, exactly, you’re living? I listen to my parents and mentors, teachers and other various types of adults who always wax poetic about their college days, and it makes me want to appreciate my life more, to not take what I have for granted. But the truth is that I already do, and I don’t know how to back out of that. Every time I drag my feet when walking to class, every time I get anxious about midterms, or my friendships, or my future, there’s always a piece of me that’s going: someday you’re going to miss this.
Someday I’m going to look back at the nights I spend hanging out with friends, the stupidly spontaneous trips we take or the inside jokes we have, the fact that I get to see them every day, and even live with them—someday I’m going to think about these in the past tense, when I’m, like, stir-frying vegetables in the tiny apartment I’m renting on an entry-level job salary and my parents’ goodwill. Someday I’m going to be the kind of adult who goes to bed at nine p.m. because I just don’t have the energy to hurtle at a million things full speed like I do now, and I’m going to think about these days through the lens of nostalgia.
And if examining your life is scary, looking at your life from the perspective of your future self looking at your life is actually frightening. A lot of people know that I write and make videos because I love doing those things, and that’s definitely true—but, admittedly, another huge part of it is driven by my own fear: fear of failure, fear of change, fear of losing things and forgetting that I lost them. If I pull out my camera to film something, I’m using that footage as security against my own loss of memory. If I forget, I simply revisit. Likewise, I write so my future self can read, and, therefore, remember. The things that I make have the capability to last longer than I can. They can move others, but they themselves cannot move. I know this, and so I try to make stuff, but somewhere in the core of my motivation there’s a little seed of fear.
And I’m not always conscious of this. Sometimes I’m caught up in the fluster of orchestrating a narrative arc, or sometimes I’m hanging out with people or reading a book. In these situations, I forget myself, and that’s a relief. But it’s in these moments of quiet—when I’m standing at my sink, brushing my teeth, or sitting at my desk trying to muster up the courage to edit another vlog—it’s in these moments that I remember I ache.
And it’s funny, because that ache, too, is something that I feel the need to capture.