(For those of you just passing through my little slice of cyberspace, here's a bit of background: I was born in North Carolina and moved to Japan at age seven. [Note: This was after several years of thinking my Dad was frequently going to "Neverland" for business, since I guess to a kid "Japan" sounds like "Peter Pan"... I was pretty surprised when we arrived in Kobe and Captain Hook was not present]. By thirteen, my family moved to Shanghai through my high school graduation at which point I headed to Los Angeles. For an expatriate my number of moves is on the low side, but I moved at such critical points in my life that the effects still reverberate.) I've always been future-centered. I do not know if this is a result of growing up knowing that I would never really settle wherever I was -- when I was in Japan and China, there were expiration dates (a little ambiguous, yes, but expiration dates all the same). Now that I'm in college, I feel the four-year hourglass slowly pouring its metaphorical sand out. Time is constantly winding down and there's rarely a moment that I don't feel its weight. Perhaps it is because this constant pressure of time that I've laid my life out in such a compartmentalized way.
I was shocked when I first saw Facebook's Timeline, not because Mark Zuckerberg was changing things on us again ("Oh my godddd, the new timeline is soooo hard to look at, what do I do?????") but because I related to it. That's how I've always looked at my life: like a very specified timeline. It is very easy for me to remember how old I am in memories because I know if I was seven or younger, it was North Carolina. Elementary school was Japan for the most part, and my painfully awkward years were all in China.
The bad thing about this is that once I have placed a period of my life in a mental compartment, it doesn't go beyond that point. High school stays in high school -- I haven't made the effort to maintain those friendships because I feel it's a time that's so utterly "behind me." I openly admit that I was not a fan of high school, so that's fine with me (other than six or so people who I'd like to maintain contact with). I've gotten used to moving to a strikingly new place and building a mini-world around me, that I usually just leave it all behind and move on. Sometimes, I so envy people from small towns -- people who are literally able to return to everything when they want. (That is not to say I'm ungrateful for my upbringing: I loved growing up abroad, it's just easy to envy what you don't have).
My worries for the future are in the present (what you just read makes sense, I promise): I do not want to wrap college up in a neat little mind-bow with a "finished" attached at the end of it. The busy-ness of college makes maintaining friendships within these four years painstaking and I can't imagine how difficult it will be in a little over two years. I'm fine with leaving student life behind in a couple years, but I don't want to compartmentalize these people.