Alexie claims every relationship we have has a shelf life

By: Chad Anthony – Columnist

SPOILER ALERT: Life kind of sucks and people are horrible. Well, not all the time. And not everyone. But looking past all the unique experiences and special moments, we will all go through a lot of rough patches. The parents divorce after thirty years of “bliss.” And you get laid off your first job six months in. And a friend spills wine on your pearly white rug causing you to cover the stain with an illogically placed potted plant.

Like I said, rough patches.

This semester, similar to every other, has slipped through our fingertips. Days turn into hours. Weeks into minutes. No matter what substances we ingest to halt time for however brief a moment, the fall semester is coming to a close. Another term under our collective belt. It’s a scary thought.

What’s scarier is becoming that guy or gal who gets stuck. The person who visits all too often, retelling the same drunken stories every get together, and being convinced that they can “still drink like the college days.” It’s not a pretty sight. All because of a little constant called time, death’s moody mistress. It isn’t going to slow down, as much as we hope. So, how can we deal with this plight, this ever-present stress?

Allow me to recollect last Tuesday. Native American author and spokesperson for Big Head Awareness Month Sherman Alexie headlined the Native People’s Colloquium. And he did not squander his time on stage. After pegging transubstantiation as cannibalism and shining light onto culturally engrained airport racism, Alexie mentioned something that is often forgotten in this age of Facebook updates and Instagram posts. Every relationship has a shelf life.

Let that sink in. The best friend you met first semester of your first year? A couple years after college, your budding relationship will be boiled down to some witty repartee on Twitter. That significant other you swear you can fix  and turn into the person you want? You’ll only peer at their Snapchat Story, sparking lustful collegiate nostalgia. When asked whether family relationships have shelf lives, Alexie smirked before saying, “Of course! Certain friends of mine go home for Christmas, even though they hate it. They come back and are depressed. I’m going to get them all shirts that say, ‘I went home for Christmas, and now I’m screwed ‘til Arbor Day.’”

Our generation has a difficult time realizing that every relationship does in fact have a shelf life. People change. You and I mold and adapt to our environments and emotional states, in turn shaping how we view the people around us and the world we live in. We are not the same people we were in high school. And it is for that reason that we aren’t “besties” with that fifth grade hop-scotch partner. Hell, even in college, relationships, both intimate and platonic, will vanish. Disappear in thin air. Only to be remembered through the “see friendship” button on Facebook.

I do not wish to convey that I have any grasp on my own personal relationships. I am, however, being more conscious of the experiences shared with current relationships. Every day that passes is one more day closer to graduation. And I, much like all of you sooner or later, will be in the real world, in a completely new environment, day dreaming about the good ol’ days of college. And it is at that time that we must throw a smile on our face and be able to say with confidence that we made the most of the time. So when you see your ex of failed relationship number five, see it as a learning experience. Remember the fun times. Or you can keep squandering precious moments with this week’s friend-with-benefits. After all, these are the best years of your life.


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