This is my high school from about a month ago when I visited. It was under heavy construction, although it was always being worked on while I was there. Not because it was falling apart — the opposite, really. They kept building it up.
It just makes me think. How long until it’s unrecognizable? How long until I can’t go there and feel a rush of nostalgia?
Lots of things are buzzing around and past me. Like a slow-capture of traffic, where all the lights are long streaks of bright colors. My 20th birthday is in two weeks, and I don’t know if I’m ready for that. I like being able to call myself a teenager, I like being young. It makes the small accomplishments and what I’ve learned seem so much more impressive. A new decade of life, that scares me.
I cleaned what is essentially my closet last month. I threw away so much, it felt like throwing away my childhood. The stuff I kept was mostly schoolwork or old kid’s magazines. It made me realize that since December 2004, I haven’t thought of or looked back on what came before then. It was all about living in the now, especially in high school, and preserving those memories as I was making them. I didn’t think to preserve the memories of my childhood especially. And now most of them are gone, or frayed, or warped. I feel like I just realized almost half of my life has slipped away, without me even knowing about it.
That’s what being older means I guess. As you go through new experiences, the old ones are pushed out of sight. I don’t know if that’s what I want, but I don’t have a choice. I just have to be more careful in which memories I keep, and which I let myself forget.