Today I sat in some slouchy green throne in Mann library with my eyes closed. I didn’t sleep — I couldn’t sleep — but I was satisfied to hear the warm mumble of 20-year-olds talking about the weather and whatever else happened to come up. For me, voices are like the pocket-sized G.I. Joe toy I used to carry around as a kid. They calm me down.
On a day like today, they remind me that I’m not alone here, that thousands of other not-so-grown-up grown ups decided to spend four years of their lives eating, sleeping, working and playing in a three-and-a-half square mile bubble. It isn’t always rainbows and butterflies here, but it’s a community, and that makes it beautiful.
Lately, I’ve been trying to keep track of the things that keep me going. My faith and my family and my fondest memories all start out the list, but sometimes it takes nothing more than a fleeting moment to remind me how charming this existence really is.
This time, it just took theses murmurs at the library, but that’s just a piece of the good stuff out there. When you’re looking for it, there’s so much to love.
For instance, I love that smell of grass that blows through my car window when I’m driving on a sunny day. And I love the little white dots that glow in the distance when I look out from the top of the slope at night.
I love swaying back and forth to live music with my eyes closed in somebody’s basement and I love sing-alongs to folk songs in my bedroom. I love freestyle rap battles too, even though I always lose.
I love the way a friend of mine always grabs my arm whenever I walk next to her and I love long hugs with people who use soap and shampoo. I also love nose rings. But I’m not really sure why.
I love watching people try to conceal laughter, especially when they fail. I love unrestrained laughter too, though, just as long as it feels authentic.
I love waking up from naps in public places and hearing the buzz of lights or air conditioners and keyboard clicks in the distance. I love crowds and commotion and the thumping sound of drums in the distance.
I love warm t-shirts and cold Liz Lemonade. And I love melted ice cream, but it’s still gotta be cold too. I also love talking to strangers, but not as much as I love singing or dancing with strangers.
I love it when people wear clothes that match their eyes. I love rolling up my jeans to walk in water and then still getting my jeans wet anyway.
I love spoiling my dinner. And sleeping on couches. And swimming in places where I’m technically not allowed to swim.
I love Christmas lights in the summer. I love beach music in the winter. And I love wearing socks with sandals no matter what the season is.
I love nighttime flights. I love roofs and parking garages and bridges and mountains.
I love it when someone with good music taste plays a song I know. And I love mouthing a few of the words here and there to prove that I know it.
I love rolling around on carpet floors and I love it when I’m alone with someone and they still talk in a quiet voice.
I love warm hands and cold hands and soft hair and hard questions. I love asking people to tell me their life stories and I love realizing how resilient we are. But we’re fragile too, and I love seeing people put the pieces back together.
I love every conversation after 2 a.m. Usually.
I love how predictable we all are — how we each eat the same things and do the same things and say the same things for much of our lives. And I love that as a result I can spend a few days with someone and end up actually knowing them.
I love the fact that the better I know someone, the better I am at making fun of them. And I love making fun of the people I know.
I love driving rough and wearing boots and eating things we don’t eat around here.
And I love the fact that if I list off the things I love in a little college newspaper in upstate New York, you guys might just read it.
So thanks for giving me one more thing to love.
Paul Russell is a sophomore in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Russelling Feathers appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.