Everything in Between

There is an apparent and glaring problem in most people’s New Years resolutions. Most are a simple, yet empty goal. Some general idea to better oneself. ‘I want my grades to be better.’ ‘I want to be nicer.’ ‘I want to be more confident.’ ‘All of these have the same issue, and it’s the same reason that gyms benefit so much each new year.

At the beginning of the year, the gym’s parking lots will be packed full with cars. The regulars will get annoyed, because they’ll get their normal parking spot stolen. All the machinery will be used, and the gym will be bursting with the hopeful energy cackling in the air. And that’s because most everyone is hoping that they’ll stick to their new years resolution. They haven’t thought about how they are going to stick to it when they get busy. No, that’s just going to discourage them from their goal, of course. Instead, they run on the treadmill to the music blasting in their ears, thinking- “Wooo! I am doing so good! Look at me, working out! Reaching my goal!”

By February, only those who were regulars before stay. They get their parking spots back and an empty gym for themselves. Why? It’s because those who made the new years resolutions to work out more and go to the gym are busy. They’re busy people, with busy lives. They didn’t plan for when they days got even busier. There was no thought about for when there would be bad days and when their motivation would dissipate.

~about the bad days~

An issue I see, not only in goal setting, but in everything, is an avoidance of the bad days. I see this is myself and most everyone around me. It’s this obsession with chasing happiness, and to be happy, nobody wants to think about the bad days.

When the people who make you snort with laughter aren’t there, who will be there to make you smile? When the friends who make everything brighter aren’t with you, where will the sun shine from? When there isn’t anyone who answers your facetime at ungodly hours, who is there to talk to?

The answer, is you. As difficult as that might be, you are the one that is always there. You will make yourself laugh at the stupidest things. The sun will have to shine from you and make everything around you bright. You will have to stare at all the work and studying you have to complete at three in the morning and tell yourself what it is you wanted someone else to tell you. That you’ve got this. That as overwhelming as it seems, you’re going to finish. At the end of the day, it’s just you.

The worst days are the ones you get through by yourself. Funnily enough, those are the same days that will forge your character. Those are the moments that will make you who you are.

Yes, 2020 will have bad days. Just like every year before has, and just as every year after will. Bad days are inevitable. You can’t simply ‘new years resolution’ the bad days away. Even more so inevitable is how you choose to respond to those bad days. Will you throw yourself on the floor, screaming at how unfair the world is? Or, will you smile through it, knowing there will be a good day to make it all worth it?

How you respond to these bad days is what makes you who you are. It’s easy to be kind, compassionate, or honest when you’re having a great day. What’s harder is being upbeat when your day has been terrible. When you feel the world is conspiring against you and nothing is going your way, will you be annoyed with those around you? When your grades are crashing down, the splash more powerful than that of the ocean’s, will you be still able to joke and laugh?

I promise you, there will be good days that make the bad days bearable. You will read a good book. You will sing at the top of your lungs, driving a car with the windows thrown open. There will be those who remind you of your worth when you feel you have none. Those who will tell you how remarkable, how memorable you are.

~cruising (featuring: good days)~

I just got off of a cruise. It’s my first few days not walking around the ship that had begun to feel like a home. The first days not being around the people that had begun to feel like home. In every way possible, this cruise featured the good days. It was the embodiment of good days that made the bad days seem worth it. I would live a million terrible, awful days just to live this cruise again. I would take any bad day thrown my way just to be able to keep even a fraction of the memories.

It sounds so cliche, but the cruise was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. The friends I made were the most perfect people I could meet. I literally forgot everything and anything I had going on back home. I’m not exaggerating. When I got back, it hit me, and I was like, “Wow, remember how stressed I was before break?” All the stress and worries I had before were erased from my mind.

Now, first, before I describe these beautiful people and the beautiful memories I’m lucky enough to share with them, I should note something. And it’s how difficult this is to write. I didn’t think it would be, but it is. How are you supposed to capture a feeling, a memory, in words? How can I show how much it all truly meant to me? It’s difficult to capture such an intangible feeling. To capture the beauty of each and every singular moment.

So, onward, the first day. I walked into the Beach House (the teen center) and of course didn’t know anyone. I ennie meenie miney moed and chose a table with kids gathered around, playing cards strewn atop the table’s surface. You’ll find that I have pretty good instincts, or, maybe it was fate looking out for me (wow am I giving a ted talk or what?) I introduced myself and got to know them.

Playing cards didn’t really work, so we really just ended up talking. I met Lauren and Kelly, and got to know them. I couldn’t even tell you what we talked about. Just the basic, ‘hey we just met’ sort of thing, I suppose. It’s funny how then, I didn’t realize how much I would end up missing them right now.

We then participated in an icebreaker, where everyone in the whole room went around and introduced themselves, where they’re from, and a fun fact. There was space on the couch beside me, and not many other places to sit. That’s when I met Andrew. He came in a little later, and asked if he could sit, and of course I told him, “Absolutely not- go sit somewhere else!” That was a joke, obviously- I didn’t say that. He looked like he thought I was going to say that, though. Also, I’m making fun of him right now because in retrospect it’s really funny.

My year ended with them, and it started with them. I closed out the new year partying and dancing on the cruise’s top deck with them. There was a breeze, but the humidity that hung in the air chased the coolness away. There was an excited, reckless energy that lingered in the air around us. Reckless, in the way that we weren’t afraid to have fun. To care, to dance, to laugh, to not stress. Actually, this reckless air hung around all week. We laughed with a reckless abandon, like the moment would never end. We fell in love with moments that were temporary. We were having fun, and we didn’t realize we were making memories. This is the most magical type of reckless abandon, and I have learned to appreciate it when I come across it. It is recklessly loving something as cruel, as treacherous, as life. It is what we were doing, and nobody even realized it. When you come across this, cherish it. It’s beautiful.

We played golf and croquet. We played pool with golf clubs. I had deep conversations that made my heart feel close to bursting. We tested to see how many people you can possibly fit inside a hot tub. I’ll have you know, it’s a lot of people. We wondered how many cups of tea you can drink without dying. Quite a lot of tea, as it turns out. We watched video game tournament upon video game tournament .We played Foosball and ping pong. It didn’t really matter what we were doing. As long as we were next to each other, I was never bored.

As the cruise wore on, I felt even closer to them every day. Sam and I found out we have telepathy. Kelly and I made fun of ‘soccer games.’ Well, actually, we all made fun of said ‘soccer games.’ Andrew beat a thirteen year old at skeeball. I fell and saw my life flash before my eyes, and Allen and Lauren were there to be concerned. Again, in retrospect, me falling was really funny. Kelly and I danced like maniacs wherever we went. I helped Allen get his binoculars. I watched Andrew and Maddie scream at the screen that displayed the football game. I didn’t understand the dispute, but that didn’t make it any less funny. We took silly pictures and videos.

I had good days. Great days, amazing days. Any and every word that also means amazing. I had good days, and they filled my soul.

~the in between~

I miss it. I miss everything about the cruise. I miss the way I laughed, and the jokes we made, and the things we did. Every single moment has a space in my mind, frozen in time. I miss it more than I even know how to describe. It’s this deep longing that rests in my bones. It’s this missing so strong it makes my heart beat in tune with the beat of the memories. All I can do it look at pictures and videos, wondering how it went by so fast. Wondering how something so wonderful could be so unsatisfactorily temporary.

I’m homesick for memories that felt like home. It’s strange, to want something so bad you absolutely can’t have. To want more time once the clock has stopped ticking. But, I suppose I do that a lot. I wish for an extra second, an extra minute, an extra hour of time I can’t have. The good days aren’t supposed to last forever. The cruise wasn’t ever meant to last forever. In our hearts and minds, always. But the memories I cherish so deeply are just that, now. They are only memories to watch in my mind’s eye. That’s the worst part. I can see it, hear it, feel it, but I can’t live in that moment again.

It’s funny, isn’t it? The bad days feel like they’ll never end, and the good days are much too short. Right now, I guess I reside in the ‘in between.’ My days haven’t been bad. But, compared to how alive, how happy I felt on the cruise, everything feels so bland now.

Maybe we won’t remember every single thing that was said. We won’t remember every joke that made us laugh, or every thing that we did. Just like a Polaroid; over time, the corners of the memory and the details will fade and blur. A few years, months, or even weeks from now, I won’t remember every single moment. I won’t, and you won’t either. But, I can promise you, I will never forget how it made me feel. That is what matters.

I think a really big thank you is needed. You guys have to know how thankful I am, but just to make sure you do. Thank you. Kelly, Sam, Andrew, Allen, Lauren, Andy, Dan, Emir, Maddie, John- everyone. You all mean more to me than you could ever imagine. What you did for me means more than you will ever know. Thank you for making the good days even better, the bad days bearable, and the in between worth it.

That’s the secret to everything in between. The secret to the days that aren’t good, or bad? Live them. If you’re living the good days correctly, you should realize how amazing the in between is, and how worth it the bad days are. That is the secret. Your good days, bad days, and in between days are just that. They are just days. If your good days were that good, they will make the in between days feel brighter.

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