Saturday, July 31, 2010

When I was 17

I kept an online journal from 2005 to 2008, and it's a treasure trove of random adventures, rants, woe-is-me stories about boys I liked not liking me back, anxiety about getting into college, anxiety about taking AP tests... wow, lots of anxiety, period. Some of it was written by a girl I no longer recognize. Some of it aligns exactly with the way I feel today. This entry, from February 21, 2005, falls somewhere in between:

"I was wondering the other day how many times I have traveled the same path home and looked at all the same things as I drive by. I always notice these places when I pass them, for lack of anything better to look at, but it has never occurred to me to wonder how many times I have seen them in my life. I can only guess its in the thousands, or tens of thousands? I have no idea.

"In terms of time, it always feels like I'm changing, getting older and making progress toward something. I don't know what that is. But really, after all those trips back and forth between my house and different places, where am I except exactly where I started? What has really changed as a result of all those trips?

"When things change, they seem so monumental, but later on you realize that maybe really nothing has changed at all. Or, maybe what was new is now normal, and doesn't feel like a change. Maybe change is so constant that we never notice it; like every second we are irretrievably different and will never be the same as we were the last second. I don't feel any different than I did a month ago, but I am an entirely different person who has a month's worth of experiences more than my old self. Nothing amazingly important happened in that span of time, but I was probably affected in tiny ways by each and every thing I saw, heard, said or did.

"Life seems to not be about progress, but about maintenance. Like we all think, 'Hey, we've got a good thing going here, let's keep it up.' People fall into doing the same things every day, things that make some sort of difference, somewhere, and we just keep doing them because we're supposed to. How much do these things help? What are we helping? What good does micromanaging every little detail of life do? Wouldn't you be just as successful, and a lot more happy, by being equally driven but more laid back?

"There is so much unnecessary worrying, discussing, debating, arguing and who knows what else going on in this world. Personally, I have heard so much worrying about senior year stuff going on. I know people who are intensely worried about getting the right prom date, the right prom dress, the right person to walk down the graduation aisle with. In the end, senior year is about finishing high school and having that achievement. No date or dress or graduation escort will take that away, and it's stupid to worry about things like that.

"I used to worry so much about every little thing I did. I used to think I would die if I didn't graduate with a 4.0. I don't know if its just the effects of senior year, or an awareness that makes me realize that most things aren't worth worrying about, but I find these thoughts frequently in my mind: "Oh well;" "Good enough;" "It won't kill me." Maybe this is a descent into mediocrity, or maybe it's just a good shedding of anxiety. Really, how many times have I been in a situation where I actually thought I was going to die because of something? So many. And here I am, still alive."

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