Then Vs. Now

Over spring break, I wrote a lot, probably more than I have written in the last few months. For my creative writing class I hammered out a nineteen-page fictional piece, while I also did some journaling and blogging. For some peculiar reason, I found the urge to go through my old journals that I keep buried in my closet. Maybe I wanted to relive some old, yet wonderful memories. Maybe I wanted to see how far I had come in life, being that it’s been about five years since I began writing down my personal thoughts on a regular basis. Or maybe it was just for the hell of it. 

In the beginning, my penmanship wasn’t the neatest and I often times just scribbled down every mundane thought that went through adolescent brain, from what I had for breakfast that particular morning or the amount of homework I had to do come nightfall. Page after page, I didn’t find myself necessarily cringing at what I had written down, but rather chuckling at how niave and somewhat shallow I sounded. I think had I had actually been talking to my twelve and thirteen year-old self, I would have smirked and said, “child, you will one day learn that the next seven years are just all you living in one big bubble.”

And that is something that I believe to be true, at least for me personally. In hindsight, I failed many times to actually look at the big picture as opposed to squinting painfully at the snapshot; I spent months, years even, making a huge deal about things that down the road no one will really care about. I pursued and tried to please certain people; and when that didn’t work and I asked “why?” I failed to realize that they either didn’t give a damn or we had grown apart. It’s a jagged pill that’s tough to swallow, but it’s part of life. 

Simply put, I held on for way longer than I should have. That’s why it took so long for the blisters to heal.

As I continued reading, I wept as well. I wasn’t crying out of bitterness or regret, but rather because I missed the times that I had with the people who were in my life during that period. At the risk of sounding incredibly sentimental here, there are memories that are still crystal clear in my today as they were the moment each one of them took place. For instance, I still remember the day I met one of my very best friends, down to what the both of us were wearing. With others, it was singing along to a mix-tape at the top of our longs in my mom’s suburban and than eating pie at the now bankrupt Baker’s Square. These things that seem so insignificant, yet  also things that I’ll probably remember forever. 

I don’t miss high school or middle school all that much; I wouldn’t necessarily go back to change anything that happened in those last seven years, but rather to change how I dealt with them. I could go on tangents about why it’s best to just taking something for what it is and not rush or force it to happen. I could write a monologue about how plenty of friends will come in and out of your life, but the truest of those will always be standing in the doorway. But I don’t need to, because they’re just that simple. 

I know a lot of people say that those years tend to be the best years of your life; for some, this is true, but not everyone reaches their prime. I tend to think I’ve made more self-discoveries now I did then. 

My writing, as well as my character have definitely matured since then. These days I tend to treat my journal as more of a canvas, where I try to paint a picture with my words as opposed to just scribbling down random thoughts. I write letters to people that for some reason I haven’t come up with the courage to send, or prayers to God. I’ve even begun using the way back pages to write down quotes that I frequently come up with. 

Reading through these old, somewhat worn out stacks of paper gave me an important lesson, despite the fact that I had put the books down for a week: Focus on what matters, and the rest will fall into place eventually.

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