All Things Must Pass, George Harrison

“All things must pass
None of life’s strings can last
So I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays at night time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good
At arriving at the right time
But it’s not always going
To be this grey”

Well, George Harrison, the most underrated of the Beatles (IMO) did it again. He somehow managed to capture a feeling and put it into words and match it with a beautiful melody.

The end of my time at the University of Michigan is so close. In fact, it has already started happening. I have silent goodbyes daily in my head, “goodbye 4am walk home from the library with my friend Matt, this won’t happen again, ever.” “goodbye bouncer at Mash, I don’t know if you will be working next time I am here so I am saying goodbye in my head right now.” “goodbye Fleetwood Diner at 1am on a Thursday, I probably won’t be here again, with this group of people, so farewell.”

There is no word to describe how saying goodbye to four years of your life—a place, being a student, working a job on campus, people, first apartments, dorm life, everything—feels. I thought I would be so happy to say goodbye. At least 2 years of my time at U of M were spent in an extremely depressed state, with me being on the verge of a breakdown 24/7. I remember almost dropping out many times. Calling my dad and saying, “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be here. I don’t feel happy here, I want to just disappear and leave all this pain behind.” He would encourage me to come home, but something inside me told me to stick it out. To finish one more semester. And so I did.

I did, however, take one semester off. The fall semester of my senior year I spent in Norway. When I returned to campus in the winter, I was ready to face extreme anxiety and depression again, but something was different. I had randomly chosen to move into a student co-operative house on campus called “Vail”. This co-op I remembered from Sophomore year, I had come to Vail really drunk one night for a party and had a blackout breakdown in the laundry room on the dryer. I remember one of the house members finding me and calming me down. She was saying, “It’s ok. It’ll be ok. I feel very depressed sometimes too. You aren’t alone. Please, drink this water. Honey, it’ll be ok.” I had been to the co-op before, and at that time I was not aware of how much the co-op Vail would change my life for the better.

Moving in in January was the best choice I ever made at U of M. I was so ready to hate it, I prepared myself for the worst, for being isolated, for hating the messes, for hating my chores, etc. But my depressive expectations were not realized. Instead, I was greeted by 23 warm and welcoming housemates. I was invited to go dumpster diving. I was encouraged to play music by my new roommate. I found myself baking with my housemates at 2am, making art in the living room on Sunday nights, learning about new music genres, having South American dance parties, and more. My housemates told me that I made the house a happier place, and those words seemed to change how I viewed myself. Instead of viewing myself as a draining, sad, anxious person, I started to view myself as a creative, warm and loving person. Moving into Vail changed how I viewed myself and in turn changed how I affected people around me.

This story of the transformation my co-op ignited in me is the reason why I did my final project on Vail co-op. Yes, goodbyes are hard and parting with the house that changed me more than anything else at U of M will be really emotional. However, this project will allow me to reminisce on my house for years to come. I thank the writing minor for teaching me how to turn my emotions and opinions and memories into tangible projects and writing. I hope this project does my co-op justice.

All things must pass.

3 thoughts to “All Things Must Pass, George Harrison”

  1. This is a really amazing and thorough journal, Ingrid, and I want to thank you for opening up about some of the issues you’ve faced in your time at Michigan. Too often, I think we, as college students, get wrapped-up in believing that every second of our four-year experience should be positive. Still, as you showed, there’s a lot of painful moments and difficult stretches of college. Personally, I lost my grandmother back in December and spent weeks afterwards mired in depression and frustration.

    As awful as that time was for me, I often found respite in reading some of my favorite books and becoming absorbed in others’ writing since I was almost entirely unable to write myself during that period. It’s validating to see that you’ve chosen a similar strategy and have opted to use writing to explore the range of emotions that you feel as we begin to finish our time in Ann Arbor. I also completely empathize with your desire to “do justice” to your co-op through your project. At times, I feel a huge weight on me to do justice to some of the prominent fiction writers I read to influence and inspire my project—the Orwells, Vonneguts, and Bradburys of the world. While this can be mildly helpful for motivation, I’ve discovered that it truly just adds to my levels of stress and anxiety. With that said, I’d encourage you not to place the same weight on your shoulders since your project has already done Vail justice and presented the truth of the co-op for everyone to experience for themselves. Looking forward to seeing your final project!

  2. Reading your post has brought up some feelings for sure. I have been so, so ready to graduate for a while now, but reading your quiet goodbyes has made me think of all the goodbyes I’ve had to say as well. I had to take an extra year of undergrad, thus this is my 5th year here at Michigan (hence why I’m desperate to graduate). And I guess I didn’t realize it until recently, but we’ve all had to say goodbye to memories every year (goodbye to dorms, to friends, to not getting hangovers as easily), so why are these ones so much harder? Life is always changing – or in George Harrison’s words, “All things must pass” – so why are certain changes so different? Is it the timing, the length of their occurrence, how much emotion is tied to it, how many people are involved, etc.? We obviously can’t be certain, but that’s definitely something I have been thinking about has we go through one of the “biggest” changes we’ll have in our lifetime. Good luck with your project!

  3. Ingrid —

    Though I’ve only known you for a semester, and unfortunately have only had a handful of personal conversations, you’ve always been incredibly brave in my mind. You’ve always been the first one to share your thoughts, read your work & give valuable insight.
    I laughed at all of your precious goodbyes because I have found myself doing the same thing. To objects, to moments, to places. Those goodbyes are sometimes the easiest. Saying goodbye to people, or chapters of our lives are harder. I’ve been wondering when the goodbyes will end and when things will start to feel less temporary.
    Though tough goodbyes lurk ahead, what Vail gave you and what you gave Vail will forever live in you and the people you shared those special moments with. As much as you have learned about yourself through friendship, the friends around you learn from your bravery and kindness.
    Good luck with everything, you are going to flourish in Colorado!

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