The Future

Amanda - Springfield, Illinois
Entered on February 8, 2008

Though it seems as if it will never arrive, I believe in the future.

I believe in the future because it seems to be all that is worth living for. After nearly 13 years, I have surpassed everything that I feel I need to do for academic success, and thus, I am left with emptiness and the thoughts of everything I did not do. With memories of staying up late to put the finishing touches on my decade project, attempting to win the fourth grade reading race, getting in trouble for staying up so late to finish my decade project, and waking up at 3:30 A.M. so I could finish John Steinbeck’s short story “The Pearl,” I am devoid of much else. I want to ask myself, “Why didn’t I have more fun in high school?” but I already know the answer. The future. I have lived every day and taken every exam as if it were the most important of my life. This attitude has taken me light-years ahead in my academic life, but in every other area it has pulled me by the ankles ten steps back. Then again, I believe in the future. These feelings are not important now; I rationalize, because I must successfully reach the next day and the next.

I cannot wait for the first day of the future. It is then that I will no longer be the same person. I will no longer be the girl who everyday carries home a heavy book bag and her flute while walking home from the bus stop. I will no longer be that serious girl, the one that my classmates have “never seen smile or laugh.” I will no longer be the girl they only know because of what grades she earned. I will no longer be the one girl who people may have known but never really got to know.

Or, maybe, in the future, I will not have to change. The girl who has been captured in this perceptual caste system for over a decade will be free to pursue her own image, her true being. The girl, who loves Owen Wilson, would rather spend her Saturdays walking around downtown with her friend than sleeping until three, wishes she could sing opera, and just had to see Transformers on opening night, will just be. I will not have to live up to the preexisting standards by which others measure me each day. In the future, I will have my chance to define myself in the way I truly want to be known. I only hope that I realize that day when it comes.