I biked past Brooke today. I suppose that's where my entire life really started. The swings, the gym equipment, the games of tag and Lava, the woodchips, the black river of a track, the field, everything. It is everything my childhood was made up of and more. I can close my eyes right now, as I am writing this, and select any kind of memory from my younger years and more than likely it will be concentrated somewhere in elementary school. Is that sad or wonderful?
Have I been so obsessed these last four years of my life on the fact that my innocence, my childlike qualities, are slowly and surely slipping away? Everything seems to be ebbing away into the other end of the hourglass fast, too fast. My friends are already slowly drifting away as we prepare ourselves for the next step-college. Family and neighbors keep asking me if I am excited about finally leaving this town and exploring the possibilities of the world which await me.
I nod and smile, and say I can't WAIT to get out of this Hickville town I have been a part of for nearly twelve years. But it's just the phoniness that is my mask, the politeness everyone must take part in. Is that all we are pretending to do? Being courteous, saying the right things to please those around us. I mean, some of us have our parents helping us pave our way into the "real world". Do we want to disappoint? Or perhaps maybe I am the only one shaking in her flip flops at the thought of bills, REAL responsibilities, starting a family in a measly five to ten years. If that's thinking to far in advance, what about the chaotic life of a college student. Though nothing compared to a real adult, for most of us Suburbia children it will be such a dramatic change. Keeping up with your school work, taking those long hours to study, having a part time job to just cover weekly expenses, getting involved with activities and then trying to find some time to have fun or just relax.
I shrug and think I am overreacting. High school, especially this last year, has unfortunately left me many questions that I fear will haunt me until I either forget regret or whenever death feels generous the age of disease and loss. I can't help but think my morals are lost and I am treading water in a dangerous sea of uncertainty. Betrayal, hurt and sorrow follow my thoughts and slide out my mouth whenever another person is near. Am I that pathetic?
Maybe I am worry wart. Maybe I shouldn't be scared about what lies ahead. But when you're still not sure what you are capable of, it's an ongoing nightmare. What if I mess up? What if I mess up horribly in my marriage or with my children? Can I count on myself to do the noble and courageous things I always imagined myself doing? I may not have what some people may call "street smarts" but I am not so naïve to think that college will be a breeze or that the good times of being youthful and optimistic will last.
Perhaps even as I still think about Brooke Elementary I hope to find something, anything to make me feel secure, safe and relatively happy again.
But I'm not as naive to think that either.