When Grant Baker cannot handle the stress of college and the standards he places upon his own self, he is tugged towards his car, into the driver's seat and out onto the street. He glides onto the roads- his music permeates within his car and rolls out of the windows. His eyes become transfixed on the yellow road lines that go on for miles and miles- they move fast like film. As an 18 year old, Baker feels the pressure of success like weights on his chest. Adulthood continues to creep up on him. All the memories, all the expectations he placed on himself as a kid are meeting a deadline.
“College is a whole different beast. You go from being with your parents all the time, to going to school out of state. I’m close enough to see my parents when I want, but still far away to where I can be my own person,” Baker said, “I feel like I’m still in that in between period where I don't have to work for the rest of my life. But it's a little nerve wracking.”
His first semester at college glazed by like a train. Thinking about the future only leads him back to thinking about his past.
“I’ve always viewed nostalgia as an all encompassing thing. It’s not there just to remind you of the good times,” Baker said. “It’ll remind you of the good times, it’ll remind you of the awkward, the scary, the victorious times too. It’s just little things like that that will always be tied together.”
The summer before Baker’s senior year, he and his friends rested in the comfort of his home. They attempt to take in the cool air while they try not to evaporate under the summer heat. They make the most of each other’s presence. They imagine their lives outside of high school. His thoughts jot and jog from the top of his head, down the brow on his face, and down his body. He imagines what his senior year will look like. He imagines what his life would look like outside of high school. He braces himself for the unknown. For indifference.
“I don’t think any of us were truly scared to leave, but there were times where I’d think about how I wasn’t going to know anyone at college. There was absolutely no reason for us to be scared about senior year- by then, most of your grades are final,” Baker said. “People worried about having straight A’s and making a ton of friends. High school’s a scam.”
As Baker inched himself into his senior year, he etched himself into a groove. Finally in his element.
“I just went to school and would go home and mess around with my friends. I'm so thankful that I have the friends that I do. I definitely thought I was going to community college, get a degree quick and then go to work. I thought I would be a pro journalist, but I didn't realize how much time, brain, and social skills it takes. I also thought I would be some sort of movie director. I guess I still have time to see if that happens.”
Life is filled with so much time. So much time that grazes by. So much time that turns into filled potential. Grant realizes that nothing will remain or feel the same. He realizes it’s important to take in life as it is.
“There are a few moments I wish I could experience for the first time again, but I think the reason they’re so good is because they’re in the past,” Baker said. “I’ve definitely grown a ton over the past year.”
He takes in the slowness, the blankness and the thoughts that drip down his mind like molasses. He takes in the gritty filters, the alternate perspectives, the rainy days that smell like dirt and grass, the sunny days that make him lay out on the bed- soaking in the warmth.Sweat gleaning from his chest. Lips dry. He thinks about the past. He thinks
about the only thing that reconnects him towards something which surpasses his longing for the past.
“Everything I have is not because of me. And I never want to take that for granted,” Baker said. “I think we’re glorifying God through every facet of our life. When we’re being intentional and being kind [to] people, that's how we glorify God.”