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Every year for me is new.
We’re already nearly through a month and a half now (how's that gym membership going?) and, with every year, I look down at my hands and find something different. Something exciting and new. Always unknown. I find myself with a different role, like an actor that follows the director's lead as he grows up inside of a CBS sitcom. As an 18 year old about to finally reach the end of a long 11 year journey throughout school, some were sprung on me: like maturing into a man and accepting the responsibilities as a boyfriend and a dependable co worker.
Some I could see falling, and like the great Jerry Rice, triangled my fingers to absorb the catch: dynamic athlete, developing writer and friend. These were things that, even if I tried to ignore them, were waiting for me as I developed them throughout my life, my childhood. I'm not in my childhood anymore, and these are my characters now. Like every other senior who has ever been enough of an extrovert to not board themselves up in their house, I'm asked every day "What are you gonna do when you get out of high school? Which colleges have you applied to? Have you completed your SAT yet? When will you start looking into degrees?" Every. Waking. Day.
At first, I shoved off the questions "I don't know, it'll all work out later". Now with an escaping four months to go, I've panicked out and looked up every website and college board review, asked nearly every teacher and friend while keeping an overly packed journal on careers that I'd love to have. This is a decision I can't make though. And I’m sort of glad I can’t.
I remember as a kid hardly being able to wait to be 10 so I could have an age with double digits. Then 13 so I could watch Spider-Man. Then 16 to drive, and 18 to drive even later. But every kid at the age that I wanted to be at next would sigh, "Stay where you are kid, it's the best." And I didn't really believe them: it can't be that grueling to hold down a job right? Or to drive home every night after work in time to pay the bills, leaving you a few hours of uninterrupted rest. Or "making" enough time in your schedule to maintain the oxygen flowing in to keep yourself from being suffocated by plans and events. And coming up to my 18th birthday, those pressures stopped being something I mocked or wondered about: I was on the soccer team, with a job after school and then practice; during the week I was only home long enough to sleep. In that time, a poem that I wrote long ago (envisioning a future different than that of the present manifestation) haunted me, and drove me to write this article.
Lord, tell me where you are now
if I'm disappointing you,
These clothes feel too loose
yet I feel on track.
I don't look much older
After days and days begin
I take it on the chin,
and I want to stay on track.
Now you made me
I know that full well,
Sometimes I'm scared of hell
cause I'm shadowing on its track.
I took some time off to do the math
I got at most 90 more years,
sometimes I feel like jumping off the pier
When my bike stays on its track.
If I listen to the wind
Is it strong enough to knock me down?
I feel sweat on my brow
trying to stay on track.
swallow the pill, let it swim down
It doesn't hurt,
My chest it flirts
with falling off track.
My Lord, you're an explosion
That's something I could never be,
you sprinkle powder on my feet
My feet will always stay on track.
I found out something that I seemed to understand long before all the rush that becoming an adult brought. I understood then that the size of my hands, as positioned as they were, weren't made large enough to absorb that catch. Because, I was never made to catch it. I was never made to hold my plans for my future. In fact, I was never even made to plan. I was made, to stay on track.
© 2015 Sammy Proia