My 10-year college reunion, why I stopped writing, and a confession about smartphones

It’s been a decade since I graduated from the University of Dayton.

I spent the past weekend at my 10-year college reunion.

Friday evening, I ran into a familiar face in an elevator. He thanked me for an article I wrote for the college newspaper. I couldn’t even recall the guy’s last name, let alone the story he was talking about. I didn’t admit it.

“Oh, wow,” I said. “I can’t believe you still remember that.”

Over the next 30 or so hours, three more people thanked me for covering them back at college. I remembered their stories. Details stored in my memory the past decade came back to me as we’d reminisce. Not everything I created then meant a lot to me. But, those four pieces meant a lot to those four people. They’re the reason I loved doing it.

After graduation, I remembered prepping for creative responses to cliche job interview questions. Like, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

“Owning my own business in a town I haven’t heard of yet?” Please. I might have mumbled something like writing stories in New York City.

I was half right. Today, my company publishes a lot of stories in a Pennsylvania town called York, but I don’t write them. In fact, I don’t write much of anything anymore.

Spending 16 hours in a car during the drive to and back from Dayton gave me a lot of time to think. In and out of listening to Malcolm Gladwell podcasts, I tried to remember why I stopped writing.

The iPhone came out right before junior year. Back then, most of us owned RAZRs and didn’t suffer today’s common smartphone addictions.

My roommates and I joked about it. “Can you imagine going through college now with phones chained to our wrists?” (The conversation, ironically, happened with our iPhones out on our laps.)

It’s easy to blame change for not doing the things we say are important to us. “I don’t have the time anymore,” we say.

The fact is, though, if it’s important enough, we make time for it. I can point a finger at a lot of things as the reasons I don’t write. They’re excuses.

Maybe writing just isn’t that important to me.

Or, I can spend a lot less time on my damn phone and see what happens. Maybe I’ll start writing again. Maybe I won’t. But, I think I’ll try.

Husband. Dad. Fan of writing, baseball, cigars, and beer. University of Dayton grad from Youngstown, Ohio, living in York, Pa.

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