Past the Past

Kimberly - Ishpeming, Michigan
Entered on November 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

How many times in your life have you said to yourself, “I wish I could go back.”? Back to high school, where you might have studied just a little more, because then maybe you would have gotten admitted into your first choice college. Back to the day that you did something that maybe you shouldn’t have. Do you ever just want to flip over your pencil and erase that last line, when suddenly the story of your life isn’t what you want it to be? I don’t. I believe in looking forward because in reality, my story is written in pen and I couldn’t go back even if I wanted to.

My entire high school career I was what some may refer to as a ‘goody-goody’. I always showed up to class, volunteered a lot, and never really broke any rules. Then one sunny afternoon, I participated in a senior prank, which I thought to be harmless, and got in really big trouble for it.

As I sat, waiting for my punishment, I had a million thoughts running through my head. What is my mom going to say? What are my teachers going to think of me? Is this going to go on my record? All of those things scared me. My classmates sat beside me and I heard someone say, “We shouldn’t have done that.” I stood up.

“Why shouldn’t we have done it?” I asked.

“Because then maybe we wouldn’t be sitting here getting in trouble. Maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about possibly not walking at graduation…” and he continued to list a few more maybes.

I challenged him once again, “Okay, well what can we do about it now?”

“Nothing,” he replied.

“Exactly,” I said, “so right now, you are worrying about absolutely nothing. We just made history. How many people can say that they shot water balloons from the roof of their school? We’re legends, man; we just made high school history.”

Two days later, we all walked with our classmates at commencement. I had to rake a few leaves and scrub a couple of windows, but it was all worth it. Through that experience, among others, I’ve learned that it makes no difference what could have happened if I’d made some different choices, because what’s done is done. I would not be where I am today if mistakes hadn’t been made and if my heart hadn’t been broken a few times. I’ve learned to accept all of those things that one might change if they could ‘go back’. I believe that if I can continue to do that, I will always be able to look forward to the brighter future ahead of me.

I still have people approach me and ask if I really threw water balloons off of the roof of the school just two days before graduation. I say the same thing every time in response: “I did it, I’d do it again.”