The First Step
~Thomas de Quincey
Change is hard. Especially for me. I find that when change happens I often tend to fight it. Even though I knew that there was a great amount of change waiting at the end of eighth grade I shoved it to the back of my mind hoping that it would stay there. Even as the action that was a culmination of the change came and passed, graduation, I ignored it. I ignored the fact that my friend group was leaving. Ignored it until the imperfect thought of possibly not seeing the friends that I had come to so rely on. And then I could ignore the imperfect idea no longer. It was at the time that I accepted the fact that the next year would be different and possibly difficult. I would find myself looking at pictures and counting all the friends that wouldn't be at Fenn next year. And in this mental game that I played I grew sadder about the end of the school year, and more doubtful about the start of the next. The situation I was going back into was imperfect. It wasn't that I didn't like the kids that stayed, not at all. I was friendly with all, and there were some that I really liked, but in truth I still had this idea in my head that I would be all alone. This little idea that was causing me so much annoyance. This idea in my head. MY head. I would come to realize that I was in control of the thoughts and expectations that I had.
Accepting that in a way I was causing my own discomfort was the most important part in moving past it. I have always thought that those who have complete acceptance of themselves are the most inspiring people. I often think that if I am able to be happy and comfortable with who I am other things will either fall into place after, or I will have the clarity to work and puzzle my way to the answer or outcome I desire. I have found that in facing things that are imperfect this philosophy has proven to be very true. In accepting that I might be uncomfortable with the start of school and that it would be up to me to change that was the first step in becoming able to move forward from being upset. Once I understood that I was the one who was unhappy I was then able to re-evaluate and think about the next year it a whole new perspective.
Knowing that for better or for worse my social scene was going to be much different, and accepting that, made it easier to set clearer goals. Going into the year I knew that I wanted to focus on really enjoying the grind of the work. Even if an assignment or project gets really horrible I know that if I go into the process of finding a way through the problem with a growth mindset I can actually in a way enjoy the discomfort. Knowing that I have the abilities to grind something out, even if it is hard to reach, is a great feeling. The belief that I have the grit to struggle and feel uncomfortable, yet still enjoy the more primordial feeling of having a battle with how much I want something, and how hard it's going to be is something that I want to try and capitalize on this year. Enjoy the grind. This is a goal that I know, if I can stick to it, will lead to a feeling of accomplishment when graduation rolls around in June. I don't know if I could have been able to build up and feel this kind of motivation without the imperfect idea that my friends were leaving. The uncomfort that I felt, the understanding and acceptance on a personal level, then acceptance on a broader scale that things were going to be different, and finally the clarity of being able to move forward and make goals in a way that I accepted, these are the repercussions and results that the original discomfort created.
Another goal that I made is to try and really make new friends. At camp caribou I felt like I had a good start and I'm looking forward to continuing to try to expand on the relationships that I have. The imperfect way in which lots of my friends left made the opportunity to make new friends or at least expanding on the friendships that I already have.
Imperfection doesn't last forever. Through this experience I learned that. When a problem arises having the confidence to accept that there is in fact a problem will help enormously in solving it. You have the ability to change what's in front of you, good or bad. You can do it, you just need to accept that it might be uncomfortable.
Moving forward I will try to keep in mind that when something that is less than perfect arises the option to grind through the problems and find new opportunity can be revealed. When something imperfect is brought into life, it is more than possible that it is the first step to the journey to perfection.