the future is a goal

There are so many young people in our community who are fighting anxiety and depression. Not all the kids I know have won the fight and that has been on my mind for quite a while. Here are just a few of the things I wish our young people could experience, feel or know:

  • The days before high school graduation. The feeling of freedom one has as the last exams are taken, the locker is cleaned out and you know that you never, ever, have to return to this building again. Unless you want to.
  • The future “firsts”. These are usually experienced after high school so one would have to push on to get past graduation: The first evening in your own place—whether or not you have a few dozen roommates—knowing that what you do in the morning is completely your choice. The first time you make a meal in your kitchen—even if it is only a bowl of cereal. The first time you waste (aka: really enjoy) an entire weekend doing exactly what you want. The first time you have someone spend the night knowing there is absolutely no way mom or dad or grandma will burst through the door, early in the morning, and tell you to get ready for school or you will miss the bus.
  • The best recoveries occur after the darkest days. High school can be hell. Graduating high school and getting on with life is a euphoric feeling but it doesn’t last forever. Unfortunately, for everyone, horrible events will occur. Sometimes our bad day stretches into a week, months, years. At some point, as a result of our incredibly hard work, or luck, or a combination of both and lots of other factors…the chunky, stormy cloud of loss and negativity starts to thin. The feeling of finding one’s self, or one’s path or just rediscovering a few moments of happiness after a down period is such a gift.
  • Re-experiencing a collection of love. Of my impossible scenarios, this may be the most important and effective but time travel into the future (utilized in the examples above) seems more plausible at this point. For the kids who have lost all hope I wish they could sit in a quiet place and recall and feel all of the positive feedback others have felt towards them. For most of the kids who are struggling there isn’t a positive memory or a realization of how much they are loved.

Best friend: Who helped me pick up my lunch after I tripped in the senior cafeteria? You did.
Random kid in gym: Daaaaaang. I wish I could run that fast.
Cute kid in biology: Your adorable face distracted me in class but your kindness and knowledge of science made it possible for us to study together after school.
Younger sibling: One day I hope to be as good as you.
Parent: Everything I do is connected to you.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What are some of life’s pleasures you enjoy as an adult that you may not have considered when you were a kid?

What advice would you give your younger self?

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