If I could have any superpower it would be the ability to press pause. I’d watch as vehicles stopped in their tracks, raindrops hung suspended from the sky and people froze like statues in a museum. I can picture it clearly. My world of chaos would dissipate, and calmness would take its place.
“statues in a museum” PC: The MET
Amidst this setting, I could finally organize the mess that is my life. I’d be able to complete all my homework, chores, and responsibilities, with time to spare. I’d spend hours devouring books, articles, and literature in all its shapes and forms, acquiring knowledge far beyond my years. I’d learn Calculus and how to paint; I’d try a new sport and play piano. I would live lavishly; taking bubble baths and treating myself to spa days. I’d finish all seasons of Gilmore Girls and binge Friends for the millionth time. I would cook myself incredible meals or waltz into a Michelin Star restaurant and help myself to the dishes balancing upon waiters’ hands. I would sit with my thoughts – something which I rarely have the time and space to do – and reflect on my past and my future; who I am as a person, and who I want to be.
Everything would be totally under control. I forgot my computer charger? Pause, and I’ll go pick it up. I’m almost dozing off in class? Pause, and I’ll take a long nap. I would do all this and so much more with all the time in the world. And when I got lonely, I would only have to press play, and my day would resume its natural course.
After this week, I have four weeks left. I don’t know how to describe my feelings, but it all just happened too fast. Because of the pandemic, I didn’t even feel like I’m a high schooler and I’m about to go to college. For half of my high school, I’ve been staying in my house and doing homework. During the other part of my high school life, I was still busy studying and getting ready for college. I wake up, study, gym, and sleep every single day. My high school year has been very different from my expectations. I thought those things that happen in high school movies are the things that are going to happen to me, but I guess it’s just a movie, right? Time flies by way too fast. It’s really hard for me to take it slow and enjoy the moment. Even the bad times I’ve been through are going so fast.
I have discussed this with my friends and feel confident to be on the baseball team. However, after two weeks of practice, my baseball career ends right away. I didn’t practice a lot because I was on a camping trip and then the winter break happened, so I’ve been sitting on the bench for the first couple of games. I started to think about if I should switch my sport to weight lifting instead of sitting on the bench while not practicing for baseball. The game is happening almost every day. I decided to quit baseball because, during the last game, the coach came to me and said: “You will be the pitcher for the next game.” It sounds pretty good, right? The coach is so nice that he is thinking of giving me a chance to play, but do you know it’s impossible for me to be the pitcher. I, as a beginner, can’t even throw a baseball that far or fast and couldn’t catch every ball they throw. Then how do I become a pitcher? Plus, there are only a few practices I will be able to hit and throw. With this short amount of time, it was just impossible for me to be the pitcher. It is kind of him that he gave me hope to push myself more, so I might play in the future. I pretty much enjoy playing baseball and I love it, but I just don’t want to spend the rest of the time sitting on the bench.
There are many things in this world that can be done to waste time and have little to no value. Personally, my favorite one to do is video games, because of the need to learn how to play the games that I play it takes a while sometimes to get my grip and actually learn how to play the game and be good at it. For example, one game that for a while I had a lot of fun playing was Apex Legends (a battle royale). I primarily played Apex because I enjoyed the mechanics and it was a game that many of my friends played at the time that I was engulfed in it. But shockingly I actually have played more time in a game called Valorant, yes I have played a game more than my 131 hours in Apex. That game that falls under my extreme amount of hours is Valorant boasting 156.5 hours of playtime. Even with all the large amount of hours in the game, I’m still not very great at it but it’s fun and I like to play it with friends making it an enjoyable activity. Though it is enjoyable it is a pretty solid waste of time in the grand scheme of things. I could be drawing or doing schoolwork while it was wasting my time relaxing. But Id suggests gaming to anyone anyways because of the laughs and the hype that you get when you do well in-game.
Now that spring has begun and the air is faintly smelling of orange blossom filling the valley air in the brisk mornings, I can tell my time here is coming to an end. The morning and afternoons driving up and down the weaving road into the campus atop the hill. There are so many fond memories that will last more than a life time.
But now I am counting the weeks left in this beautiful place that I have spent the last four years of my life. In one way, this place is kind of all I have ever known, but it has made me want to branch out and go explore. I have learned so much academically, but also as a person.
I’ve learned what to expect from people and how to protect myself and control emotions, I’ve learned how to make true life long connections with people but most importantly I began to learn who I am.
All of these small simple lessons have been learned simply from waking up and going to school every morning and giving it all I could every day.
So now I have realized I have limited time left, and that is in fact scary, but it is leading me to a new adventure.
Some things really do get better as they age, and the little old house that sits at the top of a hill is the perfect example.
This little house is strong and mighty, and it has seen its fair share of heartbreaks, makeups, first moments, last goodbyes, tears, smiles, storms, fires, spring rain, and much more.
It sits atop a hill, with a view of the mountains surrounding and a window through the trees to look down into the valley surrounding below it. This little house has aged, but it has a story to tell.
The house has sat atop the same hill for over seventy years, watching multiple families grow, being a safe place for kids to run to after the rain starts, a place that is not just a house, but a home.
Even though the white picket fence with the red fence is tipping over with chipped paint, the porch does not keep the rain out, the wood floors inside are warped and worn, the ceiling leaks, and the doors do not keep the winter chill out, it has aged beautifully.
Although those little details seem off-putting to most, to me they make that little ageing house a home.
Now that it is October I now feel the need to wear warm cloths, drink hot tea throughout the day, and I expect the scent of pumpkin spice to fill the air.
But we live in Southern California, where we spend the beginning of October in a wave of one hundred ten degree heat and smoke filled skies from wildfires raging across the state.
The trees don’t turn colors from that end of summer green to stunning shades of orange, red, and brown. Instead, the leaves either are scorched from the blazing heat or they simply fall to the ground with no colorful exit.
Sometimes I find myself wishing our little town of Ojai experiences all the beauties and wonders of the “typical” fall, but I then remember what fall is like in our quaint town.
Fall is going to the farmers market early on Sunday mornings and starting to see the seasonal fruit and flowers being sold change and the abundance of fresh pies made from apples and pumpkins. It is going to the grocery store and seeing big bins of pumpkins fill the sidewalk and overtake the porches of houses. It is going to the local pumpkin patch and riding on the old tractor around the corn field. It is watching the most incredible sunsets of the year.
So no, we may not have the stereotypical fall with the cold weather and shades of orange that fills the treetops, but we have our own beautiful version of it in our small Southern California town.
Recently I have found myself looking back and reflecting on life before March 13, 2020.
Prior to that date, i was busy being social, going out with people, even sharing drinks from friends waterbottles. But today, that all seems so bizzar.
Its crazy how much seven months can change someone.
I now can’t seem to remember how life was before we had to wear masks or make sure we obsessively washed our hands.
I am now so used to making sure I put my mask on before I enter a building or if I am around people, but why was it so easy to completely re-program the way I live my life.
I do miss the days where I did not have to think twice about approaching someone. I miss long hugs with friends and family that you haven’t seen in a long time. I miss meeting someone for the first time and shaking their hand. I miss being in a room with people all together and seeing smiling faces. I miss it all.
I miss life before March 13, 2020. It was simpler and there seemed to be less evil in the world, even if that was not the case.
The morning is the inhale – the first air that is taken in, and held there –
Some days are more deceptive than others like a warm Thursday afternoon that manages to convince you there is nothing left to do;
It leaves you anticipating the rest. The first breath that is fully taken in and fully released in a few easy seconds. Knowing everything else may be paused for a while.
But then you remember: the light is not orange because it is summertime, when the days are so hot they seem to melt into one another, but rather because it is 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, and you are wearing sunglasses because the days are only shorter now.
And because it is a Thursday and not a Friday, you can only breathe partially.
And so the evening is the exhale – the same morning air that never really escaped finally does, though it won’t return until the sun comes up again tomorrow –
And we grow used to that feeling. Or at least I do.