Friday, February 22, 2013

"The Puzzle Growing Up" by Robin Stinson

I remember being a kid in elementary school, the pure simplicity of it. I lived in my own perfect little world where my biggest problem was whether or not I could go out and play before dinner. Nothing was a big deal. If I had a bad day, I would go to bed and wake the next morning having completely forgotten the travesty. I didn’t care that I wore mismatched ensembles or that I had goofy chopped bangs. All I needed to have fun was my best friend and my cul-de-sac.
            I remember being in middle school, going through the usual transitions. My world had gotten bigger. I had some more homework, and there were a lot of new people I had to meet. I learned that some of them didn’t want to be my friend. I was first chair in the middle school orchestra, and proud of it. I didn’t have to work too hard for it, I did my daily 20 minute practises and that would be that. When I had problems I’d get pretty upset. I accused myself of being worthless and not good enough. I noticed that I looked different from all the other girls. They wore tight jeans and tops showing off their assets and had shiny hair and wore makeup. I wore baggy shirts, cargo pants, and pulled my hair into a ponytail on a daily basis. On special occasions I wore lip balm. This began to bother me. And my cul-de-sac seemed a lot smaller.
            I remember being a freshman in high school. My world was suddenly huge, and college was now looming over my head like a formidable raincloud. On the first day of high school, a cute boy sat across from me. He was nice to me. I decided I wanted him to like me. I started paying more attention to my clothes and my hair, even putting on makeup. I was still in orchestra, but I was first chair of the second violin section and the music had gotten harder. 20 minute practises were no longer sufficient. Between school, boys, and violin, I was busy. I no longer wanted to play in my cul-de-sac. I just wanted to do all the things that I didn’t have enough money to do. I had so many more problems. Freshman year was tough.
            In life, you start as a carefree child, ready to take on the world. As you grow up, your innocence slowly melts away and you see all the hardships in life. Sometimes your outlook grows bleak. I know that mine certainly did; I was in a downward spiral.
            I remember how sophomore year changed me. I’m not sure what happened, but somehow I made friends. Good friends. They gave me something else to focus on. Even though school made life miserable sometimes, I knew that I had fun times with friends ahead to look forward to.
            Now, I’m a junior. I know that that doesn’t mean I’ve seen everything and it certainly doesn’t mean I know everything. But I do understand something important. I understand that life can be rough, but it can be fun as well. You can’t dwell on the bad parts, or else they’ll seem even worse. Instead, you need to focus on the good parts. Thinking about the good parts will carry you through the bad with less pain. The quality of your life doesn’t depend on what happens to you, it depends on how you deal with it. When you’re given a challenge do you step up and face it, or do you cry because life isn’t fair? That choice can make your life either great or miserable.
            Instead of looking back at myself in middle school and being ashamed of who I was, I’m thankful for it. I’m where I’ve gotten because of the choices that person made. To tell you the truth, I’m happy with my life right now and I wouldn’t have wanted it to turn out any other way.

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