Back to the Lounge: Part 9 took place yesterday. This is the yearly event that I started that gets a large number of my friends and acquaintances from my University of Waterloo days to reconvene one day each year on Easter Friday.
This year was successful as always - 35 or so people showed up to play games, chat, reminisce and even network a bit. It was a bit strange for me though as the feeling this year was different from all previous events. Always before the Lounge still had a feeling of home about it, a sense of belonging, like it shared a place with my current residence in my mind. Each year that feeling had ebbed away slowly and this year it felt like it was gone.
When I first arrived at university I was riding on high hopes that the predictions of some guidance counsellors and books would hold true and that I would find a community of those like myself. I had friends in high school but there really was a lack of people that saw the world the same way I did, people that could see inside me and make me more than I was before. The first while in university was a whirlwind of wonders, a cavalcade of new experiences and it changed me greatly to know that this place and this group of people existed. That sense of belonging, of community and of a vibrant future was all attached in my mind to The Comfy Lounge.
The change in the Lounge from a place of wonder to simply a place was gradual and smooth, caused by the slow accumulation of years. It makes me wonder that such a powerful association with such an incredible time of my life is now vanished and yet I am happy that these revelations I have experienced are no longer so powerfully tied to a simple object. I have moved on, seen more things, and found that although the Lounge was the place that so much of my life really started it is not required for those things to continue.
I suppose freeing my mind from the associations it had built up over the years is some sort of victory and that I should be happy to no longer require that place to support my memes. Nonetheless there is some small feeling of loss in my mind, probably due to the lack of a crutch, a useful tool for my mind to conjure up strength and optimism. Such is the price of growing old and gaining wisdom it would seem: I must give up my childhood things.