The Last First Day Of School

I stop suddenly just as I approach the front gates and I make a vow with myself to remember this day. My very last first day of school. There are seemingly hundreds of lost eleven year olds running around with nervous, anticipatory smiles on their faces, and it seems like only yesterday I was one of them. They are wide-eyed dreamers with no idea of what is to come and they step aside to let me through.  I have come too far to go back now. Even if I could, there is no way back and as much as I will long to turn around in times to come, I can only go forward now. The wind is cold so I wrap my blazer around myself tightly, and with a breath I continue on. On this familiar path lined with bright faces that have nourished me and kept me breathing and safe since the beginning of this crazy journey. Five years ago, the idea that my best friends would be people I hadn't known since I was five years old was insane, but now I am incredibly thankful for it. They hug me tightly and I realise how much I've missed them, conflicting plans having kept us apart for most of the summer.

When I imagined this moment I always dreamed I’d run forward into the open air and soar through the sky like a bird set free. But now I am here the nervousness looms around me unknown and I am shaking. I have been through countless first days, and yet that nervous anticipation never leaves.  This one in particular carries a poignancy with it. It feels strange to think that this will be largely a year of lasts. I have been school uniform shopping for the last time. I have received my class schedule for the last time. Everything I do this year, will eventually become something I do for the last time, such as handing in homework, or buying a school dinner.

 It's just so strange to think that after this year, my life will change immeasurably. I will no longer mark time by the school calendar. Christmas and Easter break and the end and beginning of each school year will simply be abstract dates noted in passing. They will no longer rule my life and my calendar. I am sure I will miss these first days and last days. Growing up in a house with three older siblings there has always been an energy and excitement about starting school for as long as I can remember. New teachers, new classes, new friends, new adventures. I will miss the excitement and anticipation and apprehension.

As it happened, this day was not dissimilar to any I've had previously. Some moments pass quickly and others go painstakingly slowly. There is a lot of sitting around, waiting for direction. My year group seems frightened to fill this time, because the last time we did that we paid the price in silly lectures about being 'proactive', and so we use the opportunity to catch up instead.  No one knows exactly what's going on, and there's a lot of change involved. Yet after the first bell tolls and everyone heads to class, it suddenly feels like we've never left.  Despite all the confusion everyone falls into place rather quickly. Teachers start to talk about how little time we actually have left in school, how in eight months time we'll be sitting exams again, and in ten months time we'll be graduating. When they say it like that all at once it sinks in that this is it. Our last year. We have eight months of school left ever and suddenly that seems like nothing at all.

Somewhere along the way this blog has  stopped being primarily about changing perspectives and began focusing on my life. It has become a diary, or more-so a chronicle of my adventures. I can’t think of any better way to affect people than by being personal and real. But lately my blog doesn’t feel personal or real enough to me. I’ve walked almost my entire life with my eyes open. I saw where I was going and knew who I was, but nowadays I feel like I’m wandering blind. I’m lost in every sense. It should have all the colour and chaos of a real diary, but it feels like I’m following a formula. In my mind I put myself together  from old pieces of myself and new pieces I collect along the way. I see many different places and I breathe them in to become a part of me too. I am imperfect. I make one hundred mistakes and then one hundred more, and through them I grow.

As I've grown my priorities have shifted. My heart chases different things. I want deeper connections, I want to be a better person and I want to give all I have. Vulnerability has become my superpower, the tool with which I can truly reach and inspire others.  So here’s my new school year resolution. I am going to write this blog from the deepest, most open part of my heart and if you don’t like it, that’s okay. I might not have the time to update as often, but I hope you will all be there when I do.

Thank you for spending time in my world.




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