Springboard

Sam - Littleton, Colorado
Entered on March 4, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that I’m incomplete. I believe that I will always be incomplete. There’s too much to do, too much to say, too much that I will die without ever knowing. Too many things that I will leave unsaid. Too many corners that I will leave unswept. Too many gambles I won’t make for the sake of seeing something new. Too many confessions that will never reach God’s ear.

Getting ready to graduate feels like getting ready to jump off the high-dive for the first time. As you rock up and down at the edge of the springboard, you briefly consider turning around and climbing back down the narrow steps. But then you remember the stream of anxious preteens and meatheads waiting along those stairs single-file, and just how embarrassing it would be to push through all of them admitting defeat. So you squint your eyes against the noontime sun and bend your shaking knees before lurching helplessly into the air. And you fall.

And fall.

And fall.

And fall.

You bellyflop. You lose your swimsuit. You pull a perfect dive and emerge to the sound of applause. It doesn’t matter. Because I believe that when I hit the water and all is said and done, I will never know if I made the right choice by jumping or if I should have pushed my way back down through all the others eager to jump.

I applied to Stanford University only a few months ago, hoping that acceptance or rejection would offer resolution after three and a half years of grinding through a college prep school in Denver. Acceptance was the happiest shock of my life, but joy quickly turned into stinging confusion. Suddenly off the springboard and flying undirected through the air, it seemed too late to consider any other option. It was as though I had been pushed unprepared into the empty air – pushed by myself.

As I’m getting ready to start the most important chapter of my life, I’ll have to live with the void of not knowing what might have been waiting at the bottom of the ladder. And I believe that that’s exactly how it should be. My past and future are spotted with the splatter of transgression and misfortune; yet for all the things that have gone wrong, for all the words that I wish I could take back but can’t, for all the decisions I’ll make that will lead me astray, and for all the emotions that I’ll wish I’d never felt, I am more complete.

I believe that I am incomplete. And I believe that it’s what completes me.