Friday, October 10, 2014

I Go Up

I've spent the last three years counting down. If I pull up a song on youtube that's two and half minutes long, I spend all of that watching the second tick by. Halfway through! Only a minute left! Thirty seconds!
When I watch TV, I divvy up the show into seven minute segments and count how many are left. Cracking open a new book from my favorite author is a journey. I'm not happy until I'm done and I can move onto all the other titles on my To Read List.
It got to a point where the stories and sounds couldn't thrill me anymore. Actually, a lot of things didn't thrill me anymore. Like days and weeks and months. Life was about checklists. Homework, chores, meals, exercise, friends, movies, all of them were nothing but bullet points on my to-do list. I scheduled my life obsessively. In August of last year, I sat down and planned out what I'd be doing every night in November.
Last night, I went to a school football game. Four quarters. Fifteen minutes apiece. A stupid scoreboard that kept dragging seconds into minutes. Then the other team tied us with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. Uh-oh, I thought, Overtime. Friday's late start day and I didn't have any homework due. There was no reason I needed the game to end early. But it was going longer than I planned so it was wrong.
I turned on my phone and counted out the surplus minutes.
The crowd kept talking about overtime as the scoreboard cut that number into smaller and smaller pieces. Four minutes. Three, two, one. forty eight point six seconds. Then, a miracle.
At 6.4 seconds, our kicker scored a field goal. 31 to 28, silverwolves.
I screamed our fight song with the best of them, and as the bleachers shook, I stopped thinking about the numbers and remembered what the game was.
Our rivalry game.
An underdog game.
The last home game of the season.
My last season as a silverwolf.
My last chance to belt out the fight song and cheer on our team and rattle those cold bleachers.
I could've been bittersweet. But for once in my life, I wasn't counting down. I didn't think about the number of minutes left in the day (ninety six), the days left in the school week (one), or the weeks left in the month (three and a spare day).
I kept my eyes on the field, away from that scoreboard, and let the number fall away. Once they left, I felt clean. Pure. A blank canvas. Then three small words scrawled themselves across my mind.
I go up.
I didn't let myself think of the future. I got my mid-youth crisis out of the way sophomore year. I'm due for a carpe diem year. I'm inoculated against senioritis.
Adults tell me that we'll be nostalgic for our high school years. Maybe they are, but things have changed. We spend our whole high school lives muttering get good grades, get good scholarships, get good college, get good job, pay off student loans. There are definitely things I miss about being seven, nine, fourteen, fifteen, but it's all tied to the way my brain was wired back then. Not the things I did with my life.
I'm inoculated against senioritis, I say. I'm done counting down. For now on, I go up.

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