“Most of all, I remember the sound of two distinct clocks in my head. One is super fast, whirring. T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t. That’s the sound of your four years at Wesleyan. With one day to go, all the packing you still have to do, all the people with whom you are still trying to find a moment to say the right goodbye."
That "super fast, whirring "T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t" clock in my head is the sound of the last 18 years of my life.
Then there’s the second clock, “slower and booming.” “[T]hat’s the sound of the rest of your life,” Miranda says, “and what you’re going to do with it in the time you have on this earth. Some of you hear this clock constantly. You wake up in cold sweats at the thought of it. Some of you are utterly oblivious to it, God bless you. Guess what? It’s ticking whether you hear it or not.”
That “slower and booming” clock is the clock in my head that is so anxious to go off to Denison and start this next phase of my life. I want to immerse myself in the arts. I’m so ready to “sink my teeth” into them. But I feel like I keep delaying it, choosing an outdoor orientation instead of an arts one because I was afraid the art one might be too stimulating for transitioning into college, and I thought I might like a lower-key transition. But the thing is I’m hungry for inspiration and stimulation. These last few weeks have been so hard to stay motivated in school, and my lack of investment in my classes has been bothering me, because I’m usually someone who is very invested. So even though I know that I’m going to enjoy the outdoor orientation, the part of me that regrets my choice is the part that's very aware of the "slower and booming" clock and is anxious to start following her passions.
I cried as I watched Miranda’s address. I just want to be where he’s at. So badly. I want to be so angsty with emotion and things to say that I crank out some project in three weeks. I want to be so invested that I forget to eat or sleep. (It's the romantic idealist in me.) I just want to do something, but I'm so overwhelmed with this desire to do something that I don't know what to do. And the clock ticks louder.
Miranda describes two characters in his new musical Hamilton: Vice President Aaron Burr and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. He says that both Burr and Hamilton are aware of “the ticking clock of mortality,” and present two different ways of facing death: Hamilton charges forward, while Burr waits for the perfect opportunity. Neither approach guarantees success, and I think what Miranda is trying to say in his address is that sometimes we will wait for our shot, and sometimes we will charge forward. But whether we’re waiting or charging forward, we must “sink [our] teeth into this life” and not let go. We must cherish what we have now while always looking ahead, ready to take our shot.