At this time last year I was going to graduation and attending various parties, psyched for a laid back summer of traveling and lounging by the pool. Now I am preparing to leave home on a 6 month hike, saying good-byes to people I won’t see for a long time and might never see. Of course it is bittersweet -there will always be questions of friendships that never happened or relationships that could have been, but I could have never picked a better time in my life to leave. I am mentally, physically and spiritually ready to end this chapter of my life and if I stayed too much longer, now perfect relationships might sour -it’s better to go out on top, I guess. If you haven’t realized it yet, this is going to be a long post. I want to trace (and brag about) what has happened since last year’s graduation.
Roadtrip to Asheville
Boating in Canada for a week
Visiting friends at Governor’s School
Whitewater Rafting and Summiting my first 14er (in underwear) in Colorado
Seeing Savion Glover in Colorado
Annual trip to Holden Beach with people who have known me since I was born
Taking a two week road-trip with my family in a 1985 VW Camper Van to Maine and back
Backpacking in the Linville Gorge with four great friends
Working Festival in the Park making wax hands
Multiple trips to Chapel Hill to visit my bestest friend
Skydiving for my 18th Birthday
Taking the train to Washington, D.C. to attend Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity
Dressing up as Xenophilius Lovegood for the first installment of the seventh HP movie
Seeing Ben Folds front row for the second time
Seeing the Avett Brothers twice -once front row
More backpacking trips
My car breaking down in Asheville on New Years Eve
Visiting and falling in love with Marlboro, the school of my dreams
Applying and getting into Marlboro
Meeting the president and having dinner at the White House
Going to Oak Grove, California to have an inquiry on life beyond consciousness at the Krishnamurti Center
Spending a weekend in New York and seeing my half-sister perform in Sondheim’s Company a long with Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Colbert
Going to the Beach for a week with seven of the best friends I could ever ask for
Getting my first tattoo -a sketch of the Charlotte Skyline, done by one of my closest friends
Taking a weekend motorcycle trip to the mountains with my Dad
Road-tripping to Ohio, getting a $192 citation for “swimming in a non-designated swimming area of Lake Hope State Park,” and competing in Warrior Dash
And tomorrow, I graduate -walking across the banal stage that marks the pseudo-beginning of independent life Note: I am not as cynical about graduation as it might seem; I do appreciate the emotional value it holds.
In no way is that even close to everything I have done that is noteworthy this year, but its a start. Looking back on this year, I am proud of the extent to which I have lived. I think to myself “If these are the experiences I have while being held back by high school and other adolescent barriers to freedom, imagine the magnitude of the experiences I will have when those ropes are cut free.” More important than some of these ostentatious adventures though, are the relationships that have been forged as a result of them. I am graduating tomorrow a long side of people of a quality that I was previously unaware of. Not to mention my family, who has been able to overcome the limitations of stereotypical family relationships and create bonds based on trust and respect rather than solely blood.
All-in-all, it has been one hell of a year, and while life is good, it is also time to move on. Good-byes should never be sad as we are all leaving in pursuit of our own dreams, but the mind’s eye tends to lose sight of that and inevitably, tears will be shed in the name of egocentricity.