You know you’re growing old when you’d rather look back than forward. When you were younger you looked forward to the next big thing. This next big thing could range from scoring a night with a hot brunette to sharing a joint with some not so shady mates while on the subject of nothing newsworthy. These were the heady days when your entire future was in front of you. Now you are in that stage of your existence where your 5-year-old-self shakes his head in disappointment at your job and your superhero development project. Your 15-year-old-self is appalled that you don’t juggle a string of supermodel girlfriends throughout the week. He’s especially disappointed with that joke of a car you drive.
Just about a month ago I travelled back in time when I returned to what we fondly call Legendary Land. Prior to making the trip, I spent a lot of time in gleeful anticipation of this return. Maybe Legendary Land isn’t much of a place to make a living if you’ve just graduated, but to a few hearts amongst us it is the capital of Legendary. It is where we all crashed into each other to represent the rainbow in all its glory. It was the beginning of the closest we’ll ever get to cultural explosion’s version of perfection.
Legendary Land consisted of memories spanning kitchen parties, chats with security, last-minute assignments, classes in foreign languages, sleepovers, coffee dates, football, pot luck dinners, random Hub-bings, grocery trips, Tube rides, night bus adventures, £2 breakfasts, gatherings at the Met, random picnics, sharing of stories, free-flow of each other’s alcohol stock and pretty much just amassing memories to last a lifetime. Never will there come a time when we will not look back at “that year” in our lives with anything other than a warm smile. To the few of us who will always remember the days with fondness, Legendary Land will remain etched in a special corner in our hearts.
A majority of the citizens of Legendary Land returned for one last hurrah together. It was time to put reality in the backburner, even if it was for the shortest of time spans. When I returned to this almost mythical place where I had been detached from for almost a year, I expected to be disappointed. Disappointed that the laughs won’t last as long, the smiles will wear the ravages of reality, the jokes will have lost its camaraderie relevance, times spent together won’t be in abundance, memories will have faded and my influence to glue groups of people together would have waned. How bloody wrong I was! For the glorious two weeks I resided in this land, reality took a back seat and none of those disappointments come true.
Despite the pressures of reality hanging over the people I will count on as friends for eternity, not once did they not make time for me. Even when it was difficult to substitute their respective realities, substitute reality they did. If I never come to the realise that I am blessed with friends beyond that of any healthy dose of normalcy, I’m a blooming idiot! To have friends is a blessing, but to be blessed with the friends I have, I’ve got the gods working overtime in my corner. I must have done something right somewhere to have amassed friends you only hear of in folklores. I will forever be grateful that when it comes to friends, I’m the richest man in the world. I definitely don’t deserve you lot, but I’ll take whole lot in a heartbeat.
Somewhere within those hours spent in parties, shopping, pubs and parks, we graduated. We received a scroll as reward for all that toil we put into the intellectual words that made up our assignments and dissertations. On my part, there really was much less toil than there were periods of blatantly indulging distractions. As our hearty congratulations were exchanged at the culmination of our academic efforts, it began to dawn upon us that these would turn out to be some of the last moments some of us might ever spend together. Sometimes you just never know how much time is left. Sometimes you just never know if you will see someone again. For all our good intentions and planning to catch up one day, we might actually never get that chance. Such is the fickleness of life. All you can do is make the most of the time you have left. That we did without any of the scars of reality and more in the spirit of Legendary Land. We had an absolute blast. We led a tribute to “that year” with all the panache and legendariness possible.
The pictures will fade, we will all eventually move on, we will find new jobs in new countries, we will lose touch, we will get married, we will break up and we will never relive “that year” where everyday was a dream come true. The time has probably set on all of us being in one geographical location at the same time. The curtains have fallen on a time we will carry within our fondest memories to our graves.
To the few who missed this return to Legendary Land, you were absolutely terribly missed. To the Italian, Frenchman and Spaniard who didn’t graduate and yet made a trip out to sunny London for the reunion, thank you. To the Arabs who almost divorced their parents to spend precious moments with us, thank you. To the American girls who got me through class, I truly wish I had spent more time taking more pictures to add to our already legendary collection. To the Indian who rescued me, found me a place to stay and played the most gracious of hosts, thank you. To the Peruvian who didn’t go back with Greece to spend precious moments with us, thank you. To the Greek whom I witnessed graduate as her guest, thank you. To the Malaysian, Brazilian and American chaps, thank you for playing monumental hosts while allowing us to trash your place. To the Romanian who repeatedly fed me Eastern European moonshine way past bedtime and for listening to my sob stories, thank you. To the Brazilian whom I shared a gas tank and the best memories ever, thank you. To the Irish love who will always listen to my stories and be my confidante, thank you. To the Polish girl to travelled all the way from Luton, sorry bout that coffee that never materialised! To everyone else who kept Legendary Land legendary and gave me so many memories to cherish, thank you. You people are the reason I spend a majority of my day almost everyday, looking back. Thank you for being legends and wherever you end up on this planet, never ever change. Legends must always remain legends.
We’ve now arrived at the crossroads where we must finally part ways. To the bright glorious future that awaits you, go forth and rule the world. Each and every one of you will go on to reality and make it a much better place to be. Be the bright shining stars that you have always been. Dream the grandest of dreams and never ever give up on them. Reality is a bitch that will try and numb your spirit, so never ever give in. Fight to shape the world the way we saw fit when we were all sat together and singing grand ol songs that enshrined the spirit of humanity. Go on and make the world a better place. I know not anyone else better equipped. Go claim your bit of tomorrow’s history.