For the "Write An Essay About..." competition
|Write an essay about YOU (ME)
They say people are made up of their past coming together in the present with the potential for the future added into the mix. This means that our choices early in life make us who we are today, and can really affect who we will continue to become in the future. From the aspect of looking at it with fifty-year-old eyes, that seems about right. But how can a teenager be expected to look so far ahead in their life so as to make decisions that will only have positive ramifications? I, for one, would not have believed it could have such an impact. My decisions seemed right at the time. Or did they?
My father died when I was quite young, not quite eleven, and I was expected to follow in his footsteps. I didn’t – I was an academic and he was a sportsman. Very different people. But he did get me involved in gymnastics, and fifteen years after he died, I did follow in his footsteps – I became the club’s head coach. I ran one of the biggest clubs in the state. I did that for many, many years. I became quite good at it, apparently. But my heart was never in it. Because I had to forego my first sporting love to do it. I stayed involved on the periphery of my chosen sport for years until age made me give it up without gaining the level I desired. It may seem strange to many, but I wanted to be a professional wrestler; I ended up being a gymnastics coach. How would my life have been different if I had followed my true love and not the expectations of others? I do not like to think about it too hard, but it is hard sometimes not to.
Her name was Barbara. I fell for her the moment I saw her. She saw something in me, so she said. Clare, the best friend I have ever had, set us up. She thought we would make a good couple. I agreed. Eventually, so did Barbara. It is the only time in my life when I think it was love at first sight. I adored her. So why did I treat her so badly? Why did I make her feel like she was not wanted? Why did I let my arrogance, my egotism, my egocentricity destroy the one relationship that has remained positive in my mind? Fifty-year-old me has no idea what sixteen-year-old me was thinking. I still think about her. I was an idiot. Did it affect subsequent relationships? Unfortunately… yes. Yes, it did.
I went to university straight out of high school. A science degree, physics major (biomechanics, if we’re being technical), which led to no permanent work, just contract positions. Then I went and got a diploma in journalism. And that was when I was offered post-graduate study in another state. I felt tied down to my sporting club, to my family, and, I admit, I was afraid of making the move. So, I stayed where I was, worked a bunch of menial jobs before I went back to university and got a post-graduate teaching degree, then a diploma in Information and Computer Technology and another diploma in Professional Writing. Lots of study; I enjoy study. But why had I let fear and the expectations of others dictate for me that choice to further my study when I had the first opportunity? More than pursuing my first love of science, I would have had an “out” from gymnastics and could even have joined the fledgling professional wrestling scene in that state. But I stayed where I was and remained essentially unfulfilled.
They say people are made up of their past coming together in the present with the potential for the future added into the mix. My present has been created by regrets, regrets that impinge on my current life and that I feel dominate my future. I might be studying again, I might be starting to make my way as a writer – the one thing from my youth I have never let go – and I might be living somewhere new, but that hardly makes up for fifty years of living my life the way others expected me to, living based on my fears and living through my appalling attitude. I would like to think I could make things better, but it feels like I live in the past. Worse, it feels like my past lives in me. The sad thing is, if I had told my teenaged self that this would be where I would end up, I would not have believed me. I would have lived my life just this way and nothing would have changed. And that makes me feel even more depressed.
Prompt: Write an essay about you