Twenty-one days ago I set foot in my high school for the last time as a student. After stretching that title out for one extra year after graduation, and three extra school days following exams, it was a bittersweet goodbye. One that was heavy on the sweet, and with a hearty side of that strange sort of nostalgia for the brighter future you have anticipated and dreamed about so many times, in such detail, that you’ve practically felt every butterfly in your stomach on each new adventure that you have yet to embark on.
As you may have gathered, it has been one heck of a time for my emotions and my thoughts running wild. That is why we have crossed paths on this: the first post of the blog I’ve wanted to create for years, within which you will find an inquisitive mind and an impassioned heart contemplating things that have ended, and what is yet to come, as I move on to the next chapter of my life: University.
Saying goodbye is something I have very little practice with. So little in fact, that when I find myself having to look an ending right in the eyes, and confront the inevitable farewell between us, it turns out that there is a part of my brain which constantly tries to console me with confident imaginings or scenarios that illustrate the temporary nature of the end…while the other half of me knows that, aside for chance encounters, the goodbye really does mean goodbye.
Unfortunately, this realization came to me three days before my time as a high school student was up, right in the midst of a Calculus and Vectors exam.
It was on a Monday (which was really just the cherry on top). Not only was I closing the door on my high school career, I was also seeing someone who had been my anchor for nearly four years of my life, for the last time. The relationship may have ended before this thought crossed my mind and inhibited my math skills, but it was in this moment that the goodbye became painfully evident. And as they walked out of the exam room, the door seemed to close so impossibly and unbearably slow.
When I was younger I learned that sometimes doors can slam so hard, and so tightly that you feel its shock reverberating for days, weeks, even months. It feels like every possible source of light: smothered. Every outlet to a better reality: sealed. Every pane of glass in every possible window around you: shattered.
I also learned that although these feelings are powerful, they do not tell the complete truth. There will always be a window that can give you a way out of even your darkest moments. Especially when that moment is just you, sitting alone, in a calculus and vectors exam after 3 hours of work and a battle for your concentration.
I owe every defining moment of my life to the acceptance of hardship and the change it brings. I owe them to windows that opened when the only doors I knew were shut; bright windows of opportunity that became the sole possible focus because, no matter how much I wanted to dwell on the closed doors behind me, their light drew my eyes away from the dark.
That Monday was an end of a monumental part of my life. It had some painful moments that, even to this day, have demanded to be relived and felt over and over. Yet, it was the day that I took control of my feelings. The day I requested my university classes. And the day I gave a presentation that made school board executives tear up, as I found myself at the finish line of another defining experience.
I accepted the closed doors, no matter how difficult it was, and I found my windows of belief that everything would be okay. They don’t have to be things of great importance. Simply letting yourself appreciate the window that opens with each new day can be your anchor during the times when everything seems unstable.
A Fresh Start
If my life’s most influential experiences truly are metaphorically bound in windows, then University has to be the largest, most extravagant, multi-paneled window I have ever beheld. Even now, it is only ajar enough to give me a taste of the change that is to come, but it is already the sweetest most invigorating breath of fresh air.
The beginning of University marks the beginning of a new lifestyle, new hobbies, and even my first real job. On top of that, I have been honoured with a position as a First Year Blogger for the University of Waterloo (an open window that I have been able to use to convince myself to take a leap with this blogging dream I’ve had for so long).
I can’t change the fact that doors are going to close as I write my next chapter of self-discovery and memories made on the way to becoming “Me”. Things are going to end, and that is simply the circle of life (cue the Lion King soundtrack playing in your head. You’re welcome). Just remember that the cyclical motion of things means that every ending is also a beginning.
Live with your eyes perceptive to the possibilities, and your mind welcome to the changes life may bring. You will soon find yourself with windows wide open to that brighter future you’ve dreamed of…but this time they won’t be metaphorical vessels of opportunity, because your dream will be your reality.
The musical representation of my feelings over the last while, and also my soundtracks while writing this post. Give them a listen if you’d like 🙂
http://8tracks.com/everglow/soul-searching (my favourite of the two)