24 hours

In 24 hours I’ve traveled through time, looking back at the past only to be launched back into the present. I cleaned my closet to make room for the immense amount of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years I’ve been away. I was cleaning til the wee hours of the night. In that process, I came across pictures, diary entries, and sketches from middle school and high school. The times surely have changed me. Back then, I always went the extra mile to impress my teachers. Insecurity motivated me to work a little harder to gain other’s approval. Much of my art works weren’t original, but reproductions of well received paintings. My writing often involved reactions to the actions of others, not straying far from the surface of things. I didn’t think much of what was happening outside my little bubble, what anything meant, what lay beneath the surface. I remember asking my mom how people become happy. She answered saying it was contentment and the acceptance. And so I carried on with the rest of my childhood accepting things I could not change and attempting to be content with whatever cards life dealt me.

Fast forward to this afternoon when I hung out with my good friend. She and I have been feeling down about the woes of dating. My form of coping was to go to a used bookstore and emerge myself in books filled with stories much more interesting than mine. Being surrounded by books remind me that, there are much more important things to worry about. It carries me back to Faulkner’s Nobel acceptance speech. He said that only, “the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing.” Whatever struggle I’m going through, I can be rest assured that I’m not alone. That there are volumes of novels and memoirs chronicling heartache, insecurities, and sadness. Instead of letting those demons consume me, I turn them into the fuel to write in hopes that it will somehow bring clarity. Keeping this in mind, I try to hone pain into craft hoping that someday my writing will amount to something.

Proceeding on, I came back to my apartment with a huge surprise: I have a new roommate. In all honesty I was quite annoyed of the abrupt change in our living situation. But what resonated more what the fact that things are changing, and there’s really nothing I can do to mend it. For the longest time I was in denial about moving back. Delaying graduation was supposed to be my attempt at holding on to college as long as I could. However it backfired and I am forced to face the reality of moving home. The thought of leaving behind a part of my live, along with the people that have made it so special always brought tears to my eyes. The transition became real when boxes appeared to stow away things and along with it the memories of the past year.

If I take away any lessons from today, its that things change. It’s cliche, but what ever pain I bear today will be dulled away by time, leaving only a mark and a memory. The things left behind are physical representations of experience, a reminder of the past, a souvenir to mark how have you’ve come. The things we leave behind trigger a cascade of recollection bringing you back to that time. The conflict lies in whether we chose to linger in that time and remain stagnant or accept what’s transpired and grow from it.

I’m leaving my college town soon and I’m bringing back all the stuff I’ve acquired in 4 years I’ve stayed. They will always remind me of the times I’ve spent with friends, or the times I’ve spent worrying about insignificant details, or the formidable years that truly shaped who I want to become. I’m not quite there yet, I still have a long way to go. Sometimes pride, fear, and doubt veil the view on who I want to become. My eyes aren’t always clear when I’m forced to chose what’s right and wrong. Sometimes I knowingly chose the wrong thing, only to be faced with its insufferable consequences. There is never a guarantee for happiness, sometimes there will be pain, but it should not break you nor make you hard. The sadness heightens the euphoria of joy and the successes ever sweeter. The world is a beautiful place if only we choose to see past the momentary struggle. As the 24 hours filled with a surge of emotions concludes, I’ve learned that whatever happens it will pass lending a new light to life and all it has to offer.

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