I don’t usually speak personally on this blog, but with the end of my junior year and the beginning of the summer before my final year of high school, I figured it might be a good idea to share a little bit about what I have learned over the course of the year.
ONE: People are wonderful.
I'm quite the cynic. That’s not to say that I am a pessimist, but rather that I tend to outwardly express impatience than I do grace. But this year, through various interactions with people around me, I learned how wonderful people are. I can’t even count the amount of times I have struck up a conversation with someone I would have never imagined talking to and was whisked away into an intriguing conversation about something that person was passionate about. And most of this wasn’t even on my podcast, which was designed for that every purpose!
This year, I found myself (twice) at dinner parties surrounded by a plethora of ballet dancers, artists, and professionals. Assuming me to be in college, many of these people spoke to me about their work and their passions treating me like a peer, and even doing so after they learned of my youth. I spoke to a male costume designer about travels in Europe, a interior designer about food photography, and a ballerina about what it’s like to grow up so far away from family.
A lot of things distract people from their wonder, but we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace people. If you let yourself get into circumstances that you may be uncomfortable with, who’s to say what amazing people you might meet and what amazing things you might learn.
TWO: People are terrible.
I mean it; people really are terrible. When meeting people for the first time, it’s easy to just focus on the wonder of their beings but once you go deeper in relationships, it’s hard to ignore how messed up people are. We are selfish, cruel, prideful, and even though we think we are doing right, we often convince ourselves the wrong thing is right.
THREE: Contradictions are ok sometimes.
People are wonderful, and people are terrible. This seems a contradiction, and yet it’s true. I had an interesting conversation with a friend where we were trying to come up with oxymorons. My favorite one that I personally came up with was Roman Catholic (because Roman refers locationally to a specific place but catholic means universal) which stuck out to me because obviously there are a lot of people who are “Roman Catholic”. It obviously cannot be a contradiction in terms, and yet it is. Humanity can be defined as a mess of contradictions, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps, we seem paradoxes because humanity is complex and above the comprehension of our small human brains.
FOUR: I am blessed.
People throw around the word “privilege,” which isn’t inaccurate, but in this context I prefer to use the word blessed. I have been blessed with an amazing family who loves me and raised me on books and God alike, I live in a safe neighborhood that is honestly quite beautiful. I attend an amazing IB school without having to pay tuition and I’m going to the UK this summer for vacation. To top that all off, I live in New York City, where I often mind myself meeting cool and famous people during opportunities I could only imagine. It’s increasingly clear to me that I live a life not shared by all or most of the world, and that I need to be thankful for this but also recognize that it is a blessing in the sense that I did nothing to deserve the circumstances in which I have been raised.
FIVE: I need to share my blessings.
I believe there’s little point in being able to recognize your blessings if you keep them all to yourself. This is definitely something I need to work on. I’m not even talking about big drastic things like becoming a doctor and moving to developing countries or living for a year as a homeless person. But, as I mentioned, I tend to be a cynic, which I think there is little point of when I have so much to be happy and smiling about. Especially with the college application season approaching, I know I need to be able to not just withdraw and be able to get work done, but also to be able to love the people around me that they might be a little more blessed in their own lives.
AND NOW, some thins I learned which likely won't help me in life but I want to share anyway.
1. Orangoutangs are "semi-solitary," which is really just a fancy way of saying they are introverts who need to be alone sometimes to just chill.
2. The R train is slow but pretty cool. It's pretty much like café and if you don't have your headphones in, random people will chat with you and make you feel better about life.
3. There are different kinds of rain. There’s heavy infrequent rain, where drops don’t come very often but come down with a huge unexpected splash, light frequent rain, where drops are small and little but are coming down constantly, and heavy frequent rain, where all hell breaks loose from the sky. I adore the second two types, but despise the first, which makes me feel like I have no control over anything.
Well, I'm off to summer. Hopefully this summer (and senior year for that matter) will have another whole plethora of things for me to learn.
Have you learned anything this year? Let me know in the comments!
- Alexandra G. Kytka