Monday, April 21, 2008

Who I Used To Be

And so the day comes to a close.  Another ring cut off of the chain.  Soon enough I'll reach another milestone.

When I was in 3rd grade, someone told me that I would graduate from high school in 2004.  At that young age, I couldn't even grasp the actual meaning of a length of time that long.  At that age, that would have meant that I would be in school for about as long as I had already been alive.  then someone told me that 2008 would be the year that I would graduate from college, and I just didn't even try to contemplate that remark.  In my mind, I saw flying cars and jetpacks in 2008.

Well, it's 2008.  Everyone constantly talks about moving on, being a part of the real world, as if everything we have known and experienced up to this point amounts to nothing.  I'd like to think that I've done something worthwhile with my life in the past 22 years.  However, I can even become a follower in this thinking sometimes.

Over the past four years at college I have made and achieved a lot of goals.  Those include learning, earning a degree, making great friends, etc.  Another goal that I made was to forget about everything about my life before college, except for my family.  This goal came out of a tough last year of high school.  Well, if I'm being honest with myself, high school wasn't so kind to me, as it isn't to most people.  The fault may lie in the fact that I had too much hope.  Let me explain.

I never had solid friendships throughout high school.  I knew many people, and many people knew me, but I only had a couple friends that I would hang out with outside school.  This was never much of a problem for me though, because I had a strong group of "best friends" in my youth group.  The end of junior year and all of senior year proved to show me that having hope (or an unhealthy amount of hope) in people can paint an unrealistic picture of the way life is.  When friends moved on to other friends, or churches, or moved on to drugs, my hopes in their perfection and ultimate loyalty to me as a friend were dashed.  Lucky for me, I kept hope.  Even in the midst of changes for the worst in many of my relationships, I was able to smile and keep up my reputation as a silly guy, always smiling and laughing.

Since this happened at the end of senior year, I fooled myself into thinking that it would be the perfect time to move on and start life over again.  Good and bad things have resulted from looking at my move to Nampa in this way.  It's been good that I have been able to find meaning and importance in everything, and to make every moment here at college memorable.  However, I believe that I have been lying to myself and to others about who I really am, or at least who I used to be.

Just like the rest of the world expects to forget about our old life and start anew in "the real world" after college, I forced myself to forget my past and take a stab at maturity.  But denying the past makes a person forget where they came from and what they went through to get where they are today.  I have a bad habit of looking back and seeing the sour moments, the bad decisions, the missed opportunities, but I cheat myself out of all of the good memories that have also made me who I am today.  It was as if I stepped back from the chalkboard of my life at the end of high school, which was full of writing, some good, some bad, and just erased it all.  I didn't take the time to leave the good, I just erased it all.  Sure, it felt good to have a clean slate, but I had to forget myself to start anew.  Was it worth it?

Now that I'm the end of college, I feel like a four year old boy stepping out into a big, scary street with fast cars, rather than a 22 year old man.  I can't rely on everything I've learned in the past four years to support me alone.  There is gold my past; events that have changed things for me and made things the way they are today.  I can't ignore that.  I know I couldn't fathom this day when I was only seven years old, but it's here now, and I managed to get here somehow, if only by the grace of God. In three weeks, three years, three decades, when I am an official member of "the real world"  I want to say that life is good, but I also want to have the wisdom to look back and see that life was also good back in the day.  That I wouldn't be where I am without who I was.


the story is in the soil said...

incredibly insightful! spicer, there is so much truth to this post. personally, i was never able to forget about my past, my friends/family have no trouble bringing up my tainted past; yes, i said tainted. but i am thankful that i never look back with regret, but with a stern motivation to do better. your words are inspiring. said...

amazing photo. Miss you. I hope we can hang sometime again.

Anonymous said...

i'm pretty sure that the door behind you in that picture, is one of the doors from 1st east in culver