Between nostalgia and the present
When the stress of high school reaches a peak, students often wish to return to the simplicity of childhood, like senior Mary Hierholzer, center, with her siblings, alumni Anne, '05, and Will, '07. However, at any point in life, people are subject to wish to relive the past or revel in the thought of the future.
The bell rings and the playground of elementary students freeze, halting our latest endeavors. Perhaps one particularly daring student risks taking a couple extra steps to mask his hurt pride after losing the game of dodgeball. One echoing blow of the whistle, and we retreat back to the confinements of a classroom, solemnly discussing our battle wounds.
As my senior year quickly approaches its end, these memories of elementary school seem to pop up more and more often. We yearn for the good ol' days where we fought the good fight during each recess, to the extent of getting every game -- hit ball, kickball, dodgeball, tetherball, wall ball and four square -- banned.
Those were the days of innocence, when the only thing that made sense was playing. I still remember my desperate young tears when the day finally came that my older siblings didn't want to play imaginary games in the backyard with me. "How could they? What could possibly be uninteresting about playing? What is wrong with them?"
On the other end of the spectrum, fellow senior Josh Hopper recalls the day when I finally disbanded from "The Misfits" to hang out with a more "mature crowd."
At that point, playing was simply no longer interesting for me. I didn't need to chase Trevor York, '12, for teasing me about being a Dodgers fan. I didn't need to insist that "the white lines are the walls of Osgiliath! You can't enter in without my permission -- even if you're Aragorn!"
Looking back now, though, I'd give just about anything to have the imaginary lines of Gondor be my biggest concern. Then again, in a few years I might be saying, "I'd give anything to go from the soccer game to Starbucks to the basketball game to yell ridiculous cheers (Eagles fly together!) then back to Starbucks, then out with friends past midnight without having to worry about college classes."
After that, I'll be saying, "I'd give anything to have another all-nighter in the common room watching movies, not having to worry about electricity bills and my mortgage!" Will the trail of reminiscing never end? Will I ever be satisfied with my current state?
"Don't harp on the past, but don't forget about the laughter, deep conversations and spontaneous outings ... Create more memories; don't just say to your friend, 'We might never live in the same state again.' Instead, give them a high five, and go smash apples with tennis racquets!" --Mary Hierholzer, '12
Observing how quickly the semester is going by, my friends and I have jokingly begun pointing out our lasts: "This is the last time I'll step on this leaf while walking to this class in January as a high school student." In this case, it seems like the only thing to do is to try to cling onto the present and sadly watch it go by, even if we're kidding.
But where is the happy medium? Shouldn't we find a way to enjoy the time we have without being melodramatic? It is futile to fight the force of time, so the best option is to keep the good old days in sight and take advantage of the opportunities at hand. Rather than being unsatisfied with where we are and trying to grasp onto time or wish for the future, the only real solution is to keep everything in perspective.
Instead of living on the past, Hierholzer encourages readers to keep the good old days in perspective while still remembering to enjoy each day for the opportunities at hand.
Don't harp on the past, but don't forget about laughter, deep conversations and spontaneous outings. Those things are an absolute blessing, and without each experience we would not be the people we are today.
Remembering these things, don't forget to have some fun. Create more memories; don't just say to your friend, "We might never live in the same state again." Instead, give them a high five, and go smash apples with tennis racquets!
Here I must make a disclaimer: it is still important to manage time wisely. Just because good memories are more fun than homework, we should not drop our math books to go partying. In that case, you might get exactly what you wish for, and spend an extra year or so in high school.
But when it comes to the time we have now, it is really quite beautiful to continue in the relationships -- both old and new -- that have given us such joy in the past, and will in the future. Instead of chasing Trevor down because of baseball, we can now drive out to lunch. Instead of deciding whether or not I should hang out with "The Misfits" or the "mature crowd," I can hang out with both groups because we are all still friends to this day.
Then, as time progresses, we are, in a way, aging gracefully. When change comes, we are prepared to jump in and make the best of it, letting the good old times shape our personalities. As was once quoted by Babatunde Olatunji, "Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."
For more columns, read the Jan. 31 article, Boling Fine Arts features unorthodox displays.