Fast Life

It’s dark and cold out here…the wind nipping at my toes, making the hairs on my legs stand up as they dangle over the ledge.

Let me stop you there before your mind wanders far enough as to etch some kind of brooding illustration into itself. This is the best position I could possibly ask to be in. Sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean as I claw at the last few days of my final high school spring break as they drop into the bottom half of my hourglass. I only have the dim light of my laptop and the whisper of music barely audible over the gargling of the ocean to keep me company, and they perfectly suffice.

Ironically enough, the hook of the currently playing song goes as follows:

“Fast life, someone’s always caught up in the fast life.”

During the months prior to spring break, I found myself as the perfect case study for that very song. School was beginning to get to me. The proverbial candle had been burnt at both ends and the flame was beginning to lick at my fingertips. On top of that, add the enormous weight of a looming college decision and you had the perfect recipe for psychosis. OK, I’ll be honest, it probably wasn’t that bad but it sure felt that way. I was thinking way too far in the future and because of that, I regretfully wasn’t able to enjoy the here and now.

That weight is gone now and as the year winds down to a close, the candle is beginning to rebuild itself. I only have a month and a half left of my senior year of high school (and I still have yet to fully wrap my head around the prior statement). No, this isn’t my formal white flag or middle finger to the rest of the academic year. With that said, I’m making it my crusade to enjoy the rest of the year to the fullest. I have the best parts of senior year ahead of me: senior prom, senior skip day (or the more politically correct “senior appreciation day”), and graduation. Every day will be spent in the present, not thinking about the summer, not thinking about college next year. Before I know it, I’ll be a year older and slaving over a ten page research paper discussing the effects of aerosols on hurricane intensity or something, wishing I had moments like this back.

For now, it’s just me, the rolling ocean, street lights dotting the horizon like the reflection of the night sky in a puddle, and my thoughts. Peace and serenity beyond measure, attempting to live a slower life.

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College

My eyes start to exhibit the hue of a blood orange’s flesh, veins emerging like spidery cracks on a damaged window pane. I struggle to see through the blurred veil cast over them. The list of questions  is routine: read, answer, click, move on. The monotony makes my mind wander. The persistent tick of the clock seizes my attention for a short while. I glance up quickly, careful not to lose the last bit of concentration I have left. Half past midnight. Alone, each question is merely a compilation of words with a question mark at the end that is used to acquire personal information. However, collectively, these questions are the key to my future, the beginning of the rest of my life. With each question on the screen; my mind fills with more questions and empties itself of answers. The anxiety bubbles up from the recesses of my psyche and exacerbates my lack of focus. My thoughts range from “Will my roommate be cool?” to “Will I make my parents proud?” They claw at my concentration. I shake myself out of this semi-lucid state and continue to address the task at hand.

As I sit here writing this essay and filling out this application, each key stroke like a grain of sand in the hourglass of my life, I sense the shell of my childhood shedding to reveal my newfound adulthood. Becoming an adult is not merely the black and white date on the calendar that signals one turning eighteen. Becoming an adult means becoming someone seen as an individual detached from traditional labels such as son, daughter, brother, sister. An adult’s identity is who he is, not who he is related to or who cares for him. This transition may come earlier or later for some. When I step onto a college campus next year, I will be my own person, making my own decisions and living with the resulting consequences. While I have been waiting for this moment to make a name for myself for my entire life, I am weary of what lies ahead. The coming years will present me with unparalleled autonomy and, in all honesty, I am nervous as to how I will handle this newfound freedom. While I will have excellent opportunities to excel, I will also have ample chances to slack off or sleep through class. It is entirely up to me. However, while adulthood rewards one with freedom, it also demands maturity to make the right decisions. The coming months are the last few pages in the first volume of the book of my life. Nevertheless, I am content in the fact that I know that several volumes are still waiting to be written.

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Gobble, Gobble

Thanksgivings of years passed meant only one thing to me: eat until comatose. The excitement did not rear it’s glorious head until the platters entered my field of view and hit the table with a satisfying thud. This year was much different. The giddiness began at least a week in advance, catalyzed by the prospect of cold weather and the family favorite football team playing at 8 o’ clock. However, this elation emanated from somewhere much deeper than the ultimately trivial food dishes and football games. Not seeing my brother and sister for all but about a month out of the year has made me appreciate them a thousand times over. As everyone arrived home yesterday, everything in the world felt right and in line. On any other day, the banging on my door at 7:30 in the morning to wake up and start helping with the food preparation would have enraged me. Instead of stomping out and muttering under my breath, I felt nothing but bliss knowing that my family, both immediate and extended, would be together in a matter of hours. Now I sit here, in the throes of the all too familiar food coma, huddled around the tv with my family watching our Pittsburgh Steelers get picked apart by the Baltimore Ravens. I feel safe, content, at peace. These are the people that will forever have my back at my best and at my worst. Whether we are on top of the world or crashing hopelessly back down, it’ll be as a unit. As I grow older, thanksgiving will continue to shift from being about food and football to being about family and appreciation for what I have. I would attempt to write more but I’m becoming heavily sedated due to the copious amount of food I ingested.

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“Enter inspirational first post title here”

As I sit here on this bus bound for Tallahassee, my decision on whether to fart or not wavering as the minutes tick by, I am perplexed as to how to pass the five hours of monotonous stillness that lie ahead. Until recently, I had never thought of myself as a gifted writer, merely one with the adequate skills to get grades worth an unenthusiastic smirk. Now, solely due to the unrelenting, good-intentioned coaxing by Mrs. Erin Lavelle, my knack and love for writing have finally materialized in my mind. In retrospect, my massive insecurities have kept me from realizing this talent in the past. The amount of inward thinking that I do on a daily basis continues to astonish me to this day. However, my lack of confidence has caused many of these thoughts, self-labeled as profound, to go unwritten or unshared. I am just now realizing that I can use my writing talent to share my ideas/thoughts that I would be otherwise petrified to share verbally. I will not be writing these posts for any specific audience or any specific goal. Rather, I will be writing these simply to write and to put those thoughts and ideas that have been trapped inside my mind for all this time, respectfully asking to be let free, out into cyberspace. I would also like to use my first post to thank my current English teacher, Erin Lavelle, for successfully taking my previously dormant writing talent and placing it on a pedestal so that I could see it with my own eyes. This will certainly not be my last post and there are many more to come.

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