As the end nears, life looks different

Just a few months ago, when my freshmen college friends were talking about missing people from high school, I decided I was going to be just fine when I was in that position. I?d miss my family a little and maybe a couple friends from time to time, but it wouldn?t be a big deal.

I just wanted to wrap up this ?high school thing? and move onto bigger (and better?) things. What were they complaining about, anyway? There were hundreds of new people on campus to become friends with, and they had unlimited freedom to be anyone they wanted to be.

I probably felt this way because I didn?t fully realize the worth of my relationships. As far as family goes?I played the role of ?stupid teenager? and avoided specific ?family times? in fear of those dreadfully corny family moments. I spent my time begging for more freedom and acting annoyed with my parents, rather than hanging around and enjoying being with them.

I was selfish enough to see most of my high school friends almost as ?temporary? friends; my placeholders until college when the ?real? bonding would begin?or something. I don?t even know. That concept is so foreign to me right now?I can?t believe I ever felt that way about actual people. I can?t even find words to justify what my self-interested mind was thinking.

Now that I?m closer to the situation, I see exactly what my friends were talking about. This life, the one I?ve known for so long and have become so comfortable with, is too close to becoming just a memory. That?s a terrifying thought. I?m going to stop taking everything for granted before it?s too late.

I?m starting to bond with people I?ve been around since elementary school but never really knew?like some of the basketball girls and people in the random classes I?ve filled my schedule with (like accounting and weightlifting). They are starting to mean more to me than just the casual school relationships I?ve limited them to in the past.

As far as family goes, I?m totally over being a brat. Seriously, things were ridiculous for a while. This family is the only one I have, and while those crazy Humbers are quirky and weird and sometimes drive me insane, they will always be a huge part of who I am.

I started figuring out this family thing at Thanksgiving. It was just me, my mom and dad, and my brother hanging out around the house. I can?t pinpoint exactly what was different, but I loved every second of it. We took silly pictures, poked fun at each other, and watched ?Elf.?

For Christmas, it was just us four again. Instead of being bratty and annoyed when my brother yelled and screamed as he opened his presents, I smiled and took pictures?. I?m going to miss that laugh.

Singing ?Happy Birthday? to Jesus on Christmas morning was marginally enjoyable this year. While it was still crazy corny, I didn?t rush and mumble my way through it because I actually found it hilarious that my family sings it across three octaves.

It took us two hours to open our tree presents because we just sat around, laughing and telling stories. I think that?s how ?family? is supposed to feel.

I?d like to think I?m finally figuring things out. I realize this topic may be more appropriate for my next column in April, but I?m glad that I?m noticing and changing these things with a semester left.

Ew. When I say it that way–?one semester left??it seems like I have no time at all. But, within that semester, I?ll have plenty of basketball games, accounting classes, Monday night family nights, and random trips with friends to Wichita to make it count?.

I?ll be sure of it.