The Last Four Lessons
I’m graduating college in two weeks. Can you believe that?
Of course, “graduating” might not be the best word to use here. I’ll probably just ﬁnish my last class at my desk, move 20 feet to my couch, and watch Frasier like any other day. Quarantine is weird like that, but my college career will technically be over and I will have a degree.
It’s a time for wrapping up loose ends. And unfortunately, this blog is one of them. Next Thursday, April 30, will be my last day of college and my last edition of Daily Fuel. If anyone is still reading this, you have my gratitude for sharing these last two years with me. The word “earn” is doing a lot of work there, because I can’t imagine this was pleasant for any of you. But every coming of age movie ends with somebody coming of age, then the credits have to roll. I was thinking about how to end this, and I realized that everything I’ve learned since I started this can be reduced to four lessons. So like Eddie Money doing an encore of “Two Tickets to Paradise,” I’m going to end by playing the hits.
When I think about what I’ve learned in the past two years, the ﬁrst thing that comes to mind is that I’ve learned nothing. Because the person that is typing this is not the same person that was writing about Bob Dylan and Sons of Anarchy two years ago. Not by a long shot. We all change as we grow up, and the very idea of comparing yourself to your past self is almost ridiculous. When I look at the person I was when I started college, there’s almost nothing about me that’s still there. My worldview has changed, my goals have evolved, my skills (or what I perceive to be skills) are dramatically different. There’s no permanent version of Christian Zilko, and I’m perfectly ﬁne with that.
This realization rendered one of my old favorite hobbies, career planning, irrelevant. Or at least, a lot less relevant than it was before. I used to think that planning your life ﬁve and ten years in advance was mature and a way to guarantee success. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s nothing wrong with thinking towards the future sometimes, but I have absolutely no idea what I’ll want to do in ﬁve years. Making rigid plans is a waste of time, because we aren’t rigid.
Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t learned a bunch of lessons and used them to improve myself. I had a multitude of good and bad experiences thrown at me, and I emerged as a completely different person. Now I get to go out into the world and do it again.
Still Writing, Apparently