Here’s a line you hear every year: I can’t believe how fast the summer has gone by. Seriously, though. It feels like yesterday I was waiting for the Daily’s servers to operate at a reasonable rate (well actually, it was yesterday), and now it’s August, a mere three weeks away from the beginning of fall semester (read: Harbaugh era of Michigan football).

So, as I sit here writing this at the Daily, cherishing my last moments as managing editor, it seems like a great time to reflect on what I did this summer, or actually, what I wish I did and did not do because that’s a lot more interesting. And maybe, just maybe, there will be something to learn from this thought exercise:

I wish I watched less Fox News.

No, this isn’t my big “I’m actually a Republican” announcement. Rather, back in May, I challenged myself to watch the network as my primary TV news source. Huge mistake. I mean, the things that come out of these people’s mouths are too terrible to be true — the highlight being Bill O’Reilly declaring institutional racism no longer exists (OK, Bill, OK). I would be shocked if there wasn’t a dartboard in the middle of their newsroom with President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s faces tacked in the center. My problem was watching Fox became somewhat of a pseudo-addiction, where I started counting on Bill Hemmer and Martha McCallum to start my day off right — and angry.

By July, my viewing started to cool down a bit, but last Thursday’s Republican debate brought me back in. I have never enjoyed ignorance so much. Seriously, could they have found a group of 10 people who are more out of touch with reality? Probably, but my point is made.

While there were many positives in this Fox News-viewing experience — becoming more confident in my beliefs, copious amounts of unintentional comedy, etc. — I wish it didn’t happen. I feel a bit less sane now.

I wish I checked my e-mail less.

Filling out medical school applications may be important, in that I don’t get to go to medical school without doing them, but side effects include compulsive e-mail checking to the point of insanity. Seeing “Updated Just Now” with no new e-mails is borderline torture. This whole process is really the ultimate test of how well I handle patience. Pun intended.

I wish I watched more documentaries.

I love learning about the more important things in life: a legendary sushi chef, the history of Chinese food, scientology and tennis matches that never happened. Documentaries have unlocked a curious spirit in me to educate myself on just about anything, even if it’s just to add some excitement to a conversation. For all I’ve watched this summer, I’m committed to watching more. The Amy Winehouse documentary is next on my list.

I wish I wrote and performed a stand-up comedy set.

Not that I think it would be any good, but this has been a goal of mine for a while. I like to believe I would have a small semblance of stage presence and maybe have gotten a couple of jokes to land, so I wish I gave it a try. Maybe someday, though. I’m trying to be the next Larry David here!

I wish I ran more.

Not actually.

I wish I went camping.

I’ve spent a lot of this summer on the computer and my phone. While camping out on Facebook scrolling endlessly down is fun, it simply can’t beat the great outdoors. I know I’m not the only one who is obsessed with their technology, and it’s a real problem. Craving virtual social interaction is simply not healthy. I need to disconnect from that world for a bit. Plus, I miss the tents, the campfires and the hikes. I’m craving real conversations while eating hot dogs with great friends.


When I look at this short list, I see some things serious, most things not so much. However, believe it or not, there is an important question that comes out of this: Am I living the life I want to live?

In most ways, yes. I’m pursuing a career in medicine and found a genuine passion for public health this summer. I am proud of the fact that I attempt to educate myself in a wide variety of topics.

But what about everything in between? My time in Ann Arbor is winding down (less than a year left), and there are plenty of restaurants and stores I have yet to eat and shop at. I really do want to write that comedy routine, and I want to become less attached to my e-mail. I want to strengthen my relationships with the people I care about most.

It’s time to start prioritizing those things because these are the experiences that will go a long way in living the life I want to live — one that’s not sucked away by staring at social media.

Luckily, I have the next couple weeks off, so I know where I can start.

Anyone want to go camping?

Derek Wolfe can be reached

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