The hand on the antiquated clock continues to tick, passing by the coveted seconds and minutes before I have to leave the place that has become my home over the last four years. The year is nearly over, the textbooks have been collected, the final exams have been graded and the students eagerly await the ringing of the bell that will release them from the pressures of high school. But for me, it’s different. For me, I am never coming back. I will never see these hallowed halls again. I will never hear the joyous laughs or the torturous wails that accompany the ups and downs of the rollercoaster that is high school.
Today is the day that I become an adult whether I want to or not. Excuses are not an option and responsibility is being heaped by the dozens on my shoulders. I’m not sure how Atlas held up the sky on his own but if he can carry that weight, then maybe I can live with the expectations and obligations that are being placed on my own shoulders.
Today is the day that I become brilliant. I want to follow in the footsteps of the greats: of Jane Austen, of Galileo, of Mark Twain. I want to break free of the barriers of society to have my name be put in the history books alongside the greatest figures that mankind has to offer. We all want to be remembered when we die, to remain immortal even after our physical presence dissipates but sometimes, isn’t it enough just to exist? In high school, there are the loud and outgoing people that everyone wants to befriend and are usually the favorites of the faculty as well. But there are also the commonly overlooked introverts that may be just as academically excellent and may have have an even deeper understanding of society and their place in it but continue to be lumped in with the underachievers because no one takes the time to see what’s happening in their head. Personally, I think I fall into the extrovert description but sometimes, I want to be more than just the comedian or the teacher’s pet. I want to get some peace and quiet and solitude. I want to not have to constantly watch what I say and what I do because I know there are a hundred eyes on me at a time to do the right thing and fulfill these expectations that people have set for me. With the end of high school coming around, I can change this mirage of a person. I can be the person that I want to be. I don’t have to just the soccer player or just the smart academic or just the brooding humanitarian. I can be all three or none of them if I so choose. I want my existence to matter, not just to the history books, but to my family, my friends, my educators, and most of all, to myself. If I am not being true to myself, then I am doing myself a disservice. I want to be remembered a hundred years in the future not in classrooms but in the hearts of those that I love as someone that was never afraid to say what they felt or do as they wished. That starts today. My journey to immortality starts today.
Today is the day that I give thanks. Behind every successful person, there are hundreds of people that have helped them reach the point that they did. Family that supported their dreams and endeavors, friends that became family after the long nights of studying and the talks of the future and the unknown until the wee hours of the morning, and to the teachers that constantly gave everything they had into shaping the minds of the next generation. For the people that think Atlas held the sky on his own, that’s an incorrect assumption. Atlas may have been physically holding the sky on his own but the strength to do so comes from those around him. It comes from being taught that sacrifice is necessary, that if you have the ability to help others, then you have the responsibility to do so. These ideas stem from knowing that this world is bigger than just one person, that there are others that deserve the credit of what you’ve accomplished. However, when I leave this school, it will become easy to forget about all those that helped me reach this point. “Keep in touch,” we say. But how many of us actually remember to send that text or call that friend? Not many. There are strings that connect us to everyone we’ve ever met that have altered our lives but as we go on, the strings grow in number but they continue to be stretched thinner and thinner as we grow apart from the people that we believed we would be with forever. But forever can pass in a blink of an eye. Forever is a concept that we create to epitomize the bond we wish to create with people but are rarely able to fulfill. Many people try to cling on to that forever until dawn sets to day but it’s important to remember that nothing gold can stay. I want to just enjoy what little time I have left instead of worrying about the possible friendships that will end in the future. Forever is here and now and I want to live in it, not look back wondering why I spent all my time worrying about all the uncertainty that exists in the world.
The ring of the bell jars me from my thoughts and I rise to my feet to head to the door. I take one last look at the home that I will never return to. I close my eyes to soak it all in one last time and turn around, walking away with the absolute certainty that the world is waiting for me.