Looking down on creation

Lately Mark has been quite preoccupied with the idea of growing up, and the logistics about how things work in the world. He wants to know how, exactly, does one buy a car, for example. How does one choose an apartment and how does one pay for an apartment? Do apartments come with furniture or does one need to bring their own furniture to an apartment, and if the latter, how is the furniture transported to said apartment? Can one choose paint colours in an apartment and are dogs allowed? How does one get an engineering job? How does one know what classes to take in order to become an engineer? And so on.

It’s really fun, these conversations. We have been talking a lot about university life, as well, and I’ve been trying to impress upon them how much fun it is and how there are hundreds of interesting courses to choose from. My memories of university are nearly all rosy; I loved being a student so much. I loved choosing courses, and attending lectures; I loved writing papers and exams and I loved the general feeling of university life. I loved how intense the days of exams were and I loved the relaxed feeling and having beer and nachos in the bar after the exams were completed. I loved taking step aerobics classes in the university gym and I loved the days that were warm enough to sit on the grassy hills, studying. I loved the packing-it-all-in feeling of spring and summer courses and I loved the quiet starriness of the early morning campus in the dead of winter.

I remember how I felt when I graduated. I felt like I was on top of the world, I felt like I could do anything and be anything and I could change the world. I want my children to experience that same feeling. Some people take issue with new graduates and their cheerful optimism, but I think there’s enough time in our lives to become grizzled old cynics.

In part, that’s why I’m finding the recent stabbing deaths of five University of Calgary students so hard to deal with. Never mind that I got two degrees from the University of Calgary, never mind that the stabbings took place only a few blocks from my house, in my much-loved neighbourhood. I cannot stop thinking of the families – not only of the victims, who had their whole lives ahead of them – but of the accused. I can’t stop thinking about how they probably felt, celebrating the end of classes, like they were on top of the world, like they could do anything and be anything.


  1. Yes to all of this. And just a huge, yawning, questioning no.

  2. I know. I know. It’s too horrible.

  3. So awful. 🙁

    Those poor kids.

    I just don’t understand.

  4. Wow…I hadn’t heard about this. How terrible, how shocking. Hope they find some answers soon.

  5. The more we hear about all the kids – the five who died and the one who killed them – the sadder this story is. So much potential. So much hope. It is a tragedy.

  6. That feeling is part of why I love working with undergraduates. So relieved none of them were “mine” but any of them could have been. Then so sad I feel “relieved”.

  7. Beautifully put. So, so sad.

  8. Sarah Piazza says

    Tragic. And incomprehensible, too. Sending love.

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