You know those days when it’s pouring, but the sun’s still out and about? I don’t know whether it’s my mind denying the fact that it’s midterm season or the end of my time here slowly creeping up on me that’s talking, but a rain cloud, a strange air of melancholy, has been following me around for a while. I feel alone in an indifferent campus. I feel different. Even in the moments that make me as happy as I can be, there is still a sliver of doubt, a voice in the back of my head saying no.
Do you ever have those times when your mind suddenly thinks about the most random, irrelevant moments of your past? In my senior year of high school, a few weeks before I were to leave the place I called home for 14 years, a friend asked me whether I was going to keep in touch with everyone. I replied with a resounding “Of course!” I definitely wanted to; high school, along with its people and the relationships I made with them, made me who I am today. But there are also those small, everlasting memories that I wish I could forget. I can still sense the embarrassment as if I first felt it yesterday.
The past. It defines who you are as a person, a culmination of every mistake you have made and every regret you have had. And there’s some paradoxical emotional solace to be found in that realization; despite all your demons, at least you know what forms they take and when they haunt you the most. That’s infinitely better than taking a leap of faith into the unknowns of the future.
Maybe I’m just a coward. I see my peers determined to fulfill their goals and dreams, my friends making new commitments, and here I am, still unsure of what I want to do and what I want to become. But at the same time, incredulity washes over me; how can they be so sure of what they’re doing? How many of them will end up somewhere they think they don’t belong in, experiencing years later what I’m going through now? Hopefully, the answer is close to none, but when did life ever take into account your hopes and delusions to create the next transitory piece of spacetime we call the present?
Now that I know my past’s future, it's obvious that high schooler me was way too naive. I barely find the opportunity to talk to my friends from way back, both distance and culture separating us. Even in the span of a few years in college, so much has changed. Close friends I once had are now mere acquaintances. Activities I loved no longer deliver that same spark that once ignited my soul. As time passes, the less I want to “grow up”. Is it the stark contrast between the last years of what should be the two most significant periods of my life that is making me feel this way?
But maybe, just maybe, it’s okay to feel the way I do. After all, no one wants change, yet neither will they ever be satisfied with what they have; that’s just human nature. I wish for the past despite all of its blemishes, but reality will tether my feet and drag me through the mud into my future. I guess the best I can do for now, ironically, is to go with not only a chronological but also a figurative compromise between the past and the future. I remind myself once more to live in the moment, taking one step at a time on the fine line between being held back and falling off the edge.