Begendings-my life as a senior in high school

imagesMy life now is comprised of beginnings all tangled up in endings. I don’t know exactly where one begins and the other ends. And to be perfectly honest, I am not sure anyone else actually knows what is the beginning and what is the ending either.

I am asked to lead by example for my school, my team, my younger sibling while at the same time I am asked to define and refine my “reach” and my “safety”. Future… a place I have lived in comfortably for many years now has suddenly changed from an exclamation point to a question mark. I was always happily running to the next step. Can’t wait until I am 5 years old, so I can ride the big yellow bus. Can’t wait until I lose my first tooth. Can’t wait until I ride a two-wheeler by myself. Can’t wait until I am 13, then I will be a teenager. Can’t wait until I am 16, so I can drive whenever and wherever I want. Can’t wait to be a senior, so I can rule the school. So many days that I crossed off the calendar with exclamation points!

Ask me anything about where I am now and I have all of the answers. Things I did not know four years ago are like second nature to me. I navigate my school hallways with ease. Ask me questions about where I am going and I give stock answers. I am unsure and the truth is, I really don’t know. Now, I find I am in the middle place, kind of stuck between winning the race but being held at the start line because it is not yet my turn.

Instead of asking me questions about where I am going to college or my senior quote, senior picture, senior field trip, senior lunch, senior shampoo, please be patient with me while I try and figure it out. Smile at me and don’t forget to tell me when I have done a good job today, because today really matters in my world. Today is where I live. Today is where I love. Today is where I meet up with my friends and laugh. Today is where I look over to you to see if you saw what I just did out there. Today is where I smile and share and stress and try and cry. Today, for me, is all I’ve got. Tomorrow is coming. I know it is there. Please do not feel like you need to be constantly reminding me to plan for tomorrow. Believe me, it is like the big bad wolf and the best birthday present at the same time,  all wrapped up in one! My future waits for me but my present is who I am. It becomes who I become. While I am running to my next place, please help me enjoy the moments in between. The wake ups at home, the homecoming weeks, the victories with my teams, staying up late with my sister solving the world’s problems, the tests, the trials, the silly laughter, the A’s and the F’s, the smell of your cooking, my dog’s excitement when I walk in the room, seeing you in my mirror saying “be safe” as I leave the driveway. These are the things that are making me “me”. The me I have come to be is not only so special to you, but I am special to me because of all of those small, but important things wrapped up in my present. I am excited for where I am going next. Until then, let’s love and live in the little in between times because honestly, when the date on my calendar comes and I pack my bags and set off on my own journey pursuing whatever future is knocking at my door, it is those tiny moments that I am making now that make the future me.

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Fine, thanks.

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Hi!

Hey.

How are you?

Fine, thanks.

How many times do we do this every week? Why do we repeat this every time someone asks how we are doing? Are we always fine? Or is it a dance we learned years ago and we just stick to the same moves each time we see a familiar face? Are you, or the person you are asking really fine? Could you actually be awesome, worried, surprised, sad, thrilled, scared, on top of the world or at your wits end?

I was faced with two questions when I started thinking about this blog post. My first question was, when I see you and ask, “Hey, how are you?” –am I really asking because I want to know how you are truly feeling? Am I prepared to actually listen to the answer with my heart and my mind? Am I ready to celebrate with you or cry with you if the answer is anything but the usual “fine, thanks”? Then my second question was this, if you ask me how I am doing and I am more than fine or less than fine, why do I answer “fine, thanks”? We are essentially taking our humaness out of the interaction. We are social creatures, we run in the same circles, we fight the same fights, we share common joys and share common tears. We are only human… and we need each other! What if, for the next week or so, or longer, (or forever :)) we take out the word “fine” from our answer to this everyday question? Couldn’t we then, open a more authentic dialog with one another? Today, I may BE the lamp or the lifeboat or the ladder, or today I may NEED that lamp or that lifeboat or that ladder. Open up! Open to the question you may be asked and open to the answer you may receive! Let’s just see what happens when we open our hearts to one another through our words… real words! Make up your own dance along the way, you just might find the music in the everyday!