Alex Long: Time flies, but memories remain priceless

Well, here it is. My last column.

I have to admit I was skeptical about everyone's insistence my senior year in high school would fly by. Now, looking back, I can safely say this has been the shortest year of my life.

Of course, we know time is relative. Einstein taught us that back in the early 20th century when he hopped on a beam of light for some joy riding around the universe. Mathematically, if I live on top of a mountain and my twin lives at sea level, he will age slower than I will.

It's an entirely different thing to try to explain the feeling that time moves faster for me now than it did a year ago. It's basically impossible, except to say I have memories from throughout the year like normal, but the previous year feels closer.

And no, I haven't climbed to any high elevations recently.


With that said, I think the quickening of time is, in some ways, a positive thing. I think it speaks to a greater change in the way I've observed and interacted with the world throughout this past year. Writing this column, for instance, has kept me grounded with reality by forcing me to both review my life and prepare for the future. Taking the time to analyze my life helped me with bigger decisions I had to make, such as picking a college, deciding a major and other stressful life choices.

If this were an acceptance speech for an Oscar, I would have a long list of people to thank. If this were a commencement address I would have a series of inspirational and valuable lessons to instill. But this article is neither of those, and while I do have people to thank and truisms to quote, I will stick to what writers do best: analyze and sentimentalize.

When I was in fifth grade, I really wanted to be in the paper. I was as big of a Post-Bulletin fan as an 11-year-old could be; I read all the different columns, and I felt as though I knew each of the columnists personally. And, of course, I knew anyone could submit a joke to be included in the "Joke of the Day" section.

So I found a joke. (It was about a bacterium who is "coming down with penicillin." Medical-themed content is always a hit, right?) I waited for a month, checking the jokes every day and almost believing I hadn't made the cut. Finally, one day, my joke was there on the second page with my name attached at the bottom. I remember jumping with joy around the living room with the newspaper in hand.

I don't jump for joy every time one of my columns shows up in my mailbox, but there is definitely a degree of satisfaction and pride involved. All writers dream of having their work distributed and read, and I'm lucky to have a job with those perks built in.

I still have my joke, cut out in yellowed newsprint. No matter what I write in the future or how much of it gets published, it won't mean as much to me as that slip of paper.

Thank you, everyone, for reading.

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