I wish I’d known when I moved into my first college dorm, with its hideous speckled tile floors and wall-length closets and metal-framed beds, with its stadium view, and a sloping hill within walking distance where I’d go on to read at least a hundred books, how much I’d miss it all one day.

Similarly, I wish I’d known as I sprawled across dorm floors and talked about nothing, and stirred terrible spaghetti in shared kitchens, and trekked through snow in double-scarves and double-gloves, ready to fling ourselves down hills, how rare it is to live so communally, and how good it is while it lasts.

I wish I’d had, when I started my first job out of college, a better understanding of the people around me. It was hard to see at first, in part because of the natural clash between the writer and the written about, but most of the people I met in that year were good and wanted good for their town. I knew how lucky I was to spend my work days on horse farms and eighteen-wheeler practice lots and in vending machine museums, but I didn’t understand the rest until much later.

And I wish I’d known, as I scrambled through the woods at my grandparents’ house in a pile of cousins, that although the future held its own joys, no days after the end of childhood would be quite the same color of gold.

I’m not a regretter. I cringe, I stare back into my own past in disbelief, but I believe that old cliche — that our experiences become pieces of us. That you can’t tell you different you’d be if that moment that makes you squirm (still) was wiped from the slate.

But there are things I wish I had known. I wish I’d known about the things I would love, just so I could be sure to taste them more.

 

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