Now that there are only two and a half weeks left I would say that it’s time to start reflecting on the nature of this experience – to assess what it was all about, what it was worth, and what it might be worth in the future.
I’m in the library now. I just finished rehearsing for a presentation with some very focused young students. They’re so indulgent of the old man – they put up with my foibles without kicking up too much of a fuss.
Anyway, it occurs to me that I’m now coming to the end of an experience which began in May 2011 as an effort to re-rail and re-establish purpose after being laid off from my job of 23 years.
September of that year saw a large number of firsts – the first class, the first test, the first essay and so on – and now I’m experiencing some Newtonian, equal-and-opposite lasts.
This morning, for example, I came here on the train for the last time. I waited in Mac Hall for the library to open – for the last time – and right now I’m sitting in a library workroom which I booked in my name for the last time. Frankly, I’m probably in this library for the last time right now, because the rest of my studies can be done at home and other than a final, romantic walkabout there would be no reason for me to come back here.
It makes you think: about the passage of time, the meaning of events. It makes you wonder what the point is of using all our personal forces to develop when we’d probably be a lot more comfortable if we just stagnated. I hope against hope that I have the energy to keep learning right up until my last day – there is no emotional profit in being satisfied. There’s no joy in quiesence. Learn and grow, that’s my motto. Learn something new every day, or waste your life on the passive entertainments.
Anyway, here’s my last view of the library. It’s Saturday, so it’s not too busy – but that’s not how I’ll remember it.
There’s a thing about lasts. The optimism of beginning is gone, but it’s replaced now by the nervous anticipation of satisfaction and success.
And I have to say, I like the sound of that.