Monday, July 25, 2011

My problems with the word "fleeting"

Every college student knows that the academic year holds several points of transition: we adjust back to school after a long summer, we adjust to a relaxed home at the start of the holidays, we adjust to new schedules and living situations.

Times of transition don’t go away simply because we graduate. On the contrary, “graduation” seems to be life’s codeword for “Quick! Assault the wee human with change!”

Still living out of a suitcase.
I know this isn’t the case for some of you, but it is certainly the case for me. And since this is my blog, this is my space to complain.

I am sick to death of living in transition.  I want a dresser. I want a lamp. I want a frickin bed.

Some people, like my father, try to encourage me by saying that this moment in my life is “fleeting” and “exciting.”  Hmm.  Maybe life will get more exciting when I can finally stop living out of a suitcase or sleeping on the floor.  (Futons and air mattresses will be your best friends.)

And “fleeting”? Fleeting?  I think of fleeting as a short horse race, or as the time it takes me to eat three chocolate muffins.  Or an entire pizza.  But fleeting as applied to this transition time just feels…unfair.  “Painfully sluggish” would be more appropriate.

But wait.  When I began college, people warned me that it would “go by so fast.”  I scoffed – four years away from my family and my mountains and my dogs and horses is an awfully long time.  But in retrospect, yes, it did go by quickly. Much too quickly.  It was almost…fleeting.

Odd. Fleeting = college experience = times it takes me to eat an entire pizza.  ...Those shouldn't match.

I have a theory.  “Fleeting” is a special word, one that people use to refer to events that have passed, events that are now “past.”  In particular, special events.  (Yes, I classify "eating pizza" as a special event.)  College was fleeting.  Someday, I will be able to say that this time, too, was fleeting.

When that day comes, I will treat myself to a fancy drink at the nearest bar.  Maybe a couple fancy drinks.  Cheers.

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