The Not-So American Dream

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As of late, I’ve come to the realization that my life, until my junior year of high school, has been a drawn-out, fantasy-filled dream. Granted, there are worse things to relate my experiences to, especially as sleep, a skill I’ve perfected and with which I’ve fallen in love, is at the top of my list of hobbies and favorite pastimes. My perfect childhood began in the perfect neighborhood with the perfect, huge family of eight, keeping my life perfectly interesting. My PTO member mom never missed a chorus concert and made the best heart-shaped Valentine’s Day PB&J this side of the Mississippi. Dad worked to support the family, still making time to teach me to fish and having the patience to remind me that the brake is under my right foot. My dream was fantastic; however, like the end of every nap, I had to grudgingly hop out of bed. It was mid-July, summer after sophomore year. Mom and dad announced their divorce, and a week later mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. With mom in remission and my own emotional scars healing rapidly, I now stand my ground that hindsight is far more beneficial then guessing what the future holds and constantly planning life around your anticipations. It is time to wake up.
With the help of my childhood camp friends (whom I am still as crazy about as I was the day I left Honey Creek after the fourth grade), my iPod, and the comfort of the now dilapidated quilt Gramma Lora made me for my fourth birthday, my entire life perspective has changed over the last year. While I am still admittedly naïve, my eyes aren’t closed to the dream-world anymore. Looking for an outlet to release some of these new emotions , I turned to music. The oldies mom taught me to love during the car rides to school or the bluegrass and jazz-inspired guitar licks at which dad constantly picks both taught me to listen. And, with finally a few negative experiences under my belt, I’m able to apply my listening skills. I have a passion for hearing both sides of a debate, or just talking to someone with a story to tell. I’ve worked at Texas Roadhouse for nearly two years now, my first and only job thus far, and I get the privilege of exercising listening’s counterpart: the talking, the conversation-driven intent that deeper learning is based on. While stressing through my work schedule’s mash-up with cheerleading and activity meetings, my epiphany continues: I can’t do everything, and that’s okay. But, I can certainly try. Tuesdays with Morrie, which I read while at my revolution’s prime, convinced me to relax. Stress out when necessary, but let go of factors I absolutely cannot control. I’d rather smile and reflect on the good in life than spend my days stressing over an issue I won’t remember in the morning. I plan to utilize relaxation in a big way while pursuing my plans after high school. I have the desire and ability to focus on what needs to happen and deflect what does not. I need my epiphany dream to continue, and I’m really just now falling into this beautiful sleep.





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