The Collegian
Saturday, December 03, 2022

Just livin' life

I'm afraid I haven't been completely honest with myself during the last year and a half of college. There are times in life -- you might have experienced them -- when you realize you've made tons of small decisions and finally reached a TAM point ... That Ain't Me. I know myself too well to actually believe that my passions are dead and my dreams small. To think I had finally arrived at a point of comfort with the world around me ... TAM. I recently realized that when I'm here at school, I spread myself so thin that sometimes I'm not actually anywhere -- moving too fast and caring too little for what's going on around me. Most of my relationships are like faces when the train goes by and you can just barely make out the blur before it's gone.

I realized that sometimes I spend more time on Facebook than with real people, more time screaming over the music than relaxing in the quiet, laughing when I really want to walk out of the room. There are days when I snap out of the funk and realize I've lost myself. Last Saturday was one of those days, and I just decided I was done.

Done running all over the place.

Done giving of myself for the sake of the now.

Eckart Tolle be damned, I've decided to plan for the future and I don't see myself doing for the next 20 years what I have been doing for the last one.

No pretensions. No BS. Just me telling you what I love about the world or maybe where people could stand to improve a little. Every week I'm going to tell you why I've personally made the decision to live another day of my life and, more importantly, why it's going to be a good one.

For now, I'll leave you with a story about an old school bus and why it made my day last semester.

If you ever saw the "Books on Wheels" bus you'd never forget it. One day when I was escaping the suburbs, I saw it in a parking lot on Cary St. and wondered to myself, "Who would think to start an organization that combines free bike repair with free books?"

Fortunately, I'm the over-friendly type, and I stopped to meet the owners of the bus, Ward Tefft and Shelley Briggs. While I spoke with the owners and loaded boxes of books, cars came and dropped off everything from "Green Eggs and Ham" to old romance novels. I knew I had found what I didn't know I was looking for.

During a more recent conversation with Shelley, she told me about the beginnings of the Books on Wheels.

"We didn't come up with a plan or a name before we had bought the bus. I highly recommend anyone approaching anything the same way," she said.

Pragmatic college students might call this sort of life decision dangerous or a waste of time, but for Shelley and Ward, the Books on Wheels bus is just what they do -- something they've made a commitment to.

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As for my initial question about the combination of books and bikes, Shelley made the remark, "We consider them both to be liberating tools as far as education and transportation are concerned."

Why didn't I think of that?

I can't tell you how much I want to be these people. I was never cut out for this fancy college thing, but I feel like I've been able to fake it pretty well so far. I still think D-hall is the most awkward space on campus and the nightlife here is great, but unfortunately similar.

But what I have begun to learn is that I am better off for being here. The campus mentality is "get in the box," but I've never really liked the box and I had to learn that for myself. If I settle for the box now, there is no way I'll ever do something like meet a woman with tattoos and start something like Books on Wheels as a middle-aged man (Shelly, don't be creeped out by me).

So learn a lesson from two people doing something less-than-ordinary and imagine yourself headed in that direction as you live your life ... or you can just settle down in the box and stop asking questions. It's way more comfortable, but not nearly as rewarding.

Contact opinion editor Michael Rogers at michael.rogers@richmond.edu

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