Look at the bigger picture

April 27, 2020

When I was in first grade, my family was going to visit my grandparents in Florida for the holidays. What I did not know was that my parents secretly had plans to surprise me by driving to Disneyworld instead. My reaction? Instead of being overly excited like I should have been, I cried and called Disneyworld the “world of crap.” Looking back, I realized that it was because I was planning on going to my grandparents’ house and swimming in their pool, and the unexpected change was what caused me to freak out. Throughout my life, a characteristic of mine had always been that I found myself getting frustrated when even little things did not go exactly as originally planned.
That mentality of mine, however, was put to the most extreme test this year. It is no secret that this year did not go the way I, or anyone, had planned or even wanted. However, the lessons I have learned this year have helped reshape my way of thinking. To be blunt, everything that had happened this year was largely out of anyone’s control, and I realized that there are two routes I can take.
On one hand, I can spend this time feeling bad for myself and getting frustrated that some of the plans I had been looking forward to since entering high school are now getting changed, or even canceled. On the other, I can instead think of the future I have ahead of me, and think about how this experience will play into the person I am as an adult going forward.
I know that it is a bit of a cliche to say “don’t sweat the little things,” or “think about the big picture,” but the reality is that twenty years from now everyone will (hopefully) be onto bigger and better things, and these unfortunate circumstances will become a defining moment in history.
I won’t pretend that this has been easy for me in any way. Possibly the most devastating part will be that I won’t get to watch Matthew Stein finish off the year strong with another car crash or two. I’m also sad that I won’t get to go to the AP Spanish end-of-year lunch at El Arriero and show off my 2/10 Spanish speaking abilities to Sra. Mercado-Blackport.
However, I will get to go to college, I will get to have the future I want, and life will return to the way it was before this. Right now it seems like our entire lives are getting turned upside down, but I’ve learned to think of this as similar to an intense workout, or hanging out with Drew Theut. Right now it seems like it’ll last for an eternity, but once it is over I’ll think to myself, “Hey, you survived that and you’re a better person because of it.”
This experience has been a combination of everything that drives me the craziest: having big plans canceled, being isolated from my friends, and not knowing what my life is going to look like in the immediate future. Conversely, this has taught me an important lesson as well: throughout my life, there will be many instances where things don’t go as planned. While those situations may not be in my control, what I make of them will be up to me.

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