I just finished 14th grade, which means that I’ve been in school for the same amount of time it would take to grow a reasonably self sufficient person (14 being the age of irrational reason). When I was fourteen, I graduated eighth grade and made my way to high school. Now I’m living at home again and still wearing the same tee shirts and athletic shorts. The biggest change is that I’ve reversed my decision on tie dye: now I think it’s cool.
Last year, freshman year, I had an incredibly cohesive narrative for what I had learned: it takes time to be about time. Which is true! But something I learned this year, 1) is that sometimes you don’t have a narrative. Things just happen and there’s no story arc and a pandemic that probably isn’t sent from some super-villain to destroy the human race probably can’t be stopped with the power of friendship and definitely isn’t a plot device.
2) is that I can regress more than I thought possible! See above tee shirt and shorts uniform for proof. When I first got home, I wasn’t a good student, I wasn’t the best friend, I did a lot of sitting and getting headaches and not a lot of anything else. I don’t blame myself. Because 3) some lessons need to be learned, and re learned, and re learned, until they stick. And 4) sometimes things go wrong. And that’s okay! Not just okay because I’m saying it or that self help book is saying it or that instagram girl is saying it, but okay because literally everyone in the history of ever has said it and felt it. Also, I’m going to keep making mistakes my whole entire life. 5) This growth mindset is easier in the classroom, and much harder when turned onto one’s patterns. Which, conveniently for 6), can be relearned. Patterns don’t have to be forever.
One great pattern I broke brings me to 7) wearing colors is great! And 8) wearing white is great! And don’t be scared about spilling because of 4), and also 9), which is that tie dye is cool again. It’s also cool to create, 10), randomly and sporadically and constantly. Creation doesn’t need to be necessitated. It can be making edgy paintings in your room late at night, just because you can and because they’re beautiful. It can be doing that tie dye project with avocado pits, which, 11), turn things pink.
I can’t remember all of this year. When I try to ponder how I learned (and didn’t learn) my lesson, it’s hard not to focus on the last few months. Though some days are grey monotony, others are technicolored wonders. Which brings me to 12), it’s okay to focus on the good and not the bad days, to reconcile with mistakes and moments. It’s also okay to 13), replay every moment over and over in your head like you’re a stuck VCR. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to think about the past over this insane/ uncertain/ challenging/ life altering time, able to become the little old lady of 21 who sits in her rocking chair on the front porch. My story, whatever that really is, has been such a good one so far. It’s a story that in these increasingly long days, I can be happy to replay, one that I can always find something new to pore over. So 14), when I have the time, this is a reminder to lay down somewhere in the sun, play a nostalgic song, and let myself be.
Thanks to Sophomore year.