Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

what did I do for fun when I was 10 years old?

I revisited Ms. Rubin's blog in a blatant attempt to procrastinate studying some more (although as per my resolutions I have done all the readings for the assigned dates), and I came across her challenge question for this week:

What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old?

I'm sad to say that I can barely remember that far back (it really wasn't that far back). What I do remember is that it was almost the turn of the millenium, a time of turmoil when the world was entering the unknown (remember Y2K?). My favorite movie at the time was Zenon Girl of the 21st Century (cetus lepidus she looks young), which I can distinctly remember because it inspired some...interesting fashion choices on my part.

Turning 10 and entering the 5th grade was a big deal at the small school I attended, as it meant you were now a part of the senior class. Three or four new students joined us that year, and I can remember the drama they would create in later years. There were 9 of us that made it from 5th-8th grade (with only one dropout--me, and I returned), and my best friend is one of the girls who came from that class (14 years and counting). We bought messenger bags instead of backpacks, because at the turn of the millenium those were what the grown-ups had.

Interestingly, 10 years old was the first year I went to the camp that I have now worked at for four years. And I had a phenomenal summer. I was not an outdoor kid, but I still have the hundreds of beaded necklaces and bracelets on spiral wire stored in my "memory box." I also know that at that age I loved to read, and I remember bringing the second Harry Potter book with me to camp (which I now regret because my mother wrote my name in permanent marker on the first page of that FIRST EDITION). Long before these books gained popularity I knew they would come to be my favorites.

It's hard to say what else I had fun doing when I was 10 years old, because honestly I wasn't allowed to do much. I went to a lot of movies and I had sleepovers, and I guess I enjoyed doing those things but it may just have been default. I know that when I was 10 I discovered how much I liked volleyball, but I didn't play until I was 11. I'm not sure if I went to the movies because it was cool to be without my parents or because I really wanted to go to the movies that often (fortunately back then I could afford to go that often).

In some ways I think I had already narrowed down my favorite activities at 10. Even my favorite books were already picked out. Which may have been Gretchen's point in this reflection...those activities should still bring me the happiness I am looking for.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's an interesting place

Endings always make you reflect. On what you've done, on what you're doing, on what you're going to do, and on what you could've done differently. Unfortunately I've recently been confronted with the "what I could've done differently" phase, which for some reasons feels more plausible than the "what you're going to do" phase. It's bothersome because changing the past is as unattainable as predicting the future. Yet I manage to sit here every day and look back at past decisions and wonder, "Emily, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"

As the big wide world of the future looms ahead of us, my friends and I have certainly gone off the deep end. Between the weird and often violent dreams, the excessive laziness, and the extreme insecurities that fester around us, I am surprised that we are still managing to lead fairly stable lives. Some have turned to compulsive habits like applying to too many jobs or joining the peace corps, while I have chosen to sit back and analyze every decision I've ever made. And where has it left me? Wishing for time travel.

If they invent time travel in my lifetime, will I go back and warn past Emily of her extremely bad judgement? Assuming that by that time I have lived out most of my adult life and I will know basically how the story ends, will I want to go back and change it knowing full well that happiness now could mean extreme unhappiness in the future? In such a sense, is time travel even ethical enough to pursue, considering it could very well end lives that are already in existence?

No. The truth of the matter is that my story has more pages left unwritten than I have even begun to live. In the words of Alanis Morisette, "Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out." And I can say with extreme honesty that I have looked at both sides of some decisions I have made and see that even though it was hard at the time, I am a better person because of that decision. But what if they invented time travel tomorrow, and I was able to go back and do it all better. Take the classes I wanted, make better grades, find friends I never knew existed and apologize to those I know I've hurt. It's so hard to see when you're on the inside looking out, and it's so hard to say that the unknown consequences of those decisions wouldn't seem worth it at this point.

There's a Rascal Flatts song that claims "I wouldn't change a thing. I'd walk right back through the rain. Back through every broken heart on the day that it was breaking. And I'd relive all the years, and be thankful for the tears I've cried with every stumble step that led to you and got me here." I can't imagine this being true. I can't imagine being in a place where all this pain and all these mistakes are worth it. But that somebody feels this way, gives me hope that one day, I will too.

Fortunately this is all irrelevant, and all I can say to past Emily is, how are we the same person? Why is it so much easier for me to logically see how you are making bad decisions? Fortunately, she'll never know how things turn out.