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In my own little world: Walking along your own path

11 May 2014 By Justin Manry, Columnist No Comments

“Are you gonna’ walk?”

This has become my go to question when I find out someone else graduating next week.

A simple question, four words, if you count “gonna” as a colloquial compound word in place of the proper and seldom used “going to” (which I do), but it has taken on a totally different meaning for me over the past four years of walking the grounds of Towson University.

But before I get into all that seriousness, I must acknowledge the facts.

Fact one: This is my last column as a student writer for the highly esteemed Towerlight.

I was going to do a whole intro where I acted like next week was my last, so I could save the mushy stuff for then, and I almost went through with it, until I got off the heavy medication I’d been under.

Fact two: I’ve enjoyed all the opportunities this column has afforded me.

It’s allowed me to express myself in ways I never thought I would and yadda yadda yadda mushy mush.

Fact three: I considered countless ways to immortalize my time here at The Towerlight.

I was going to go back over all my previous columns, take a phrase from each, and piece them together to make a column with a totally different meaning, but then I realized how much effort that would take.

I was going to tell all the funny stories I neglected to mention, like the time I threw a potato and almost broke my Grandmama’s lamp.

I was going to give shout-outs to people like my mom (Happy Mother’s Day ma!), who reads my column every week and laughs out loud with that same infectious laugh she gets when watching an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

I even considered going out in a blaze of glory and calling out all the people I feel have ever wronged me over the years by, among other things, calling me “Buttin.”

(It’s not even a clever nickname, Jared!)

But instead I decided to leave on a more pensive note, and by pensive I mean “thoughtful in a meaningful way” for all those who didn’t memorize their vocab lists in high school, or those who copied all the answers from my vocab workbook, Daniel Spurrier.

And the thought that I’m thinking is about walking.

Of course, on the surface, when I ask seniors “are you gonna’ walk,” I mean “are you participating in the commencement ceremony and giving up several hours of your life to sit around waiting to walk across a stage and grab a piece of paper, all to show that you’ve written every paper, passed every class and figured out what every teacher wants just enough to get by and graduate.”

That’s a mouthful to say, which is why I prefer the shortened version.

Personally, I’m a fan of walking. It lets your parents be all proud and beaming and whatnot; it gives you a sense of accomplishment and finality, and it’s something you get to do maybe once in a lifetime.

But more importantly, I encourage finding the way in which you’ll walk the rest of your life.

Now, normally I’m not a big fan of sweeping metaphors about life that make everything too simplistic and involve lots of touchy feely sentiments, but walking is where I make the exception.

You can choose to walk many different ways in this life — aimlessly, purposefully, proudly, with conviction, in darkness, in the light, with those you love, for whomever you serve — but everyone chooses a path to walk down and the way they walk it.

As for me, I’ve used these past four years to make sure I’m walking in the right direction, with the God I serve, by faith. I’ve walked this far, and I’ll be faithful to the walk I’m on and the path I’ve chosen. As for you, you have to figure it out for yourself. Just never stop walking.

So I think I pretty much wore out that metaphor, which means it’s time for the random thought of the week: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

I don’t know, but it’s certainly not worth the nasty chocolate on the inside.

Stupid owl.

Stay true, blue, and you, party people.

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