I covered the first day of school in Destin this week. I saw a wide variety of excitement and nerves. At Destin Elementary School, there were kids who ran toward their classrooms, eagerly greeted their teachers and said "cheese" for a multitude of pictures. There were also the ones who clung to their parents' legs, begging them not to leave and crying anxious tears.
But the thing the left the biggest impression on me was hearing two girls who now attend Destin Middle School reminisce about their time at the elementary school. They kept saying things like "This is so weird" and "remember when."
My only thought? "This is just the beginning for you."
I'm only 24 years old, but I already have so much to remember. I walk around the mental hallways of my mind and I remember watching the World Trade Center towers fall. I remember playing "Solitaire" and "Pinball" on the family computer because that's all our computer had back then. I watch myself playing outside all day until the sun went down. I feel the pain as I break my leg in a sledding accident during an icy winter day. I remember doing my math in my Blue's Clues pajamas in elementary school. I've seen four presidents, wars begin and end, the deaths of so many icons (R.I.P Steve Irwin) and my siblings get married and have kids of their own. I know I'm still young in the grand scheme of things, but the realization that the sense of nostalgia I already feel will only grow as time goes on scares me.
When I was a kid, I dreaded the start of school, but now I wish my biggest worry in life was long division.
I graduated college two years ago but it already seems like a lifetime. Most of my friends I grew up with are now married or working in their careers. The kids I babysat as a teenager are now getting their driver's licenses and starting high school. My nieces and nephews I watched being born are now in school. I watch as my friends post on social media about how excited they are to start their senior year of college and get out in the world, but all I can think is "stop!" I feel like it's my mission to remind people younger than me how good they have it and how they need to appreciate the season of life they're in. But they'll never listen; I know I never did when others told me the same thing when I was younger.
That's just how life goes isn't it? You never truly realize how good you have it until it's a part of the past. You blink and a year or five have gone by, but you don't feel any older in your head. All you can do is cherish every day and pray time will slow down.
Sheri Kotzum is a reporter for The Destin Log. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-4353.