“Class is grace under pressure.” I love my great-grandmother’s proverb, but do I embrace it? Am I classy? Am I disciplined? Am I forgiving? These are a few of the questions I contemplate at my young age, however, I can never seem to provide a definite answer. Some may say it is frivolous to ask these philosophical types of questions, when really it is absolutely necessary to grow. I believe reflection is the key to being the best version of yourself. Awareness is the part of self-reflection that I find to be most important. Awareness is what keeps me safe, it’s what saved my mother from breast cancer, and it’s what saves me from myself.
Four years ago I was a freshman in high school and I had already lost my way. This was inevitable due to the fact that my life at home was about as stable as an antique chair, especially considering we moved at least once every two years. I had started hanging out with the wrong crowd, gotten into the wrong scene, and lost contact with anyone who could have pulled me out of such a phase. I was alone. And this is when I started to ask these philosophical questions. Reality hit hard when my best friend left me at an acquaintance’s house in the country, at eleven o’clock at night, with no ride home. She said she would come back. She said she only had to check in with her parents. But when my mom called to scream about the fact that I wasn’t home before curfew, I called my best friend. And my best friend, the one I considered closest to me, closer than my own family members, was at a hockey rink watching her ex-boyfriend play a pick-up game.
This shock wave slung me back into reality. I tried to reconnect with some of my older core friends, but I realized my reputation had been tarnished. The person I thought I was and the person I actually was were not the same. I took time to pour over my thoughts and I realized I had made some bad decisions and abandoned the people that mattered the most. I didn’t do it to be cool, I just couldn’t find the balance of being open-minded, yet sophisticated and considerate. I am certainly closer to that balance now, but I have by no means mastered it.
For many it may be too late for reflection and self-awareness, but for others it is not. Ask yourself who you are associated with? What is your lifestyle? Are you happy? It’s not the exact answer that is important, but the gut feeling churning about when you first hear these questions. Listen to your own boundaries. Yes, you do have them. And if you mess up, it’s okay to admit. Just be aware of the direction in which your life is heading and, of course, stay classy.