30 June 2010
28 June 2010
My time, since last September, has been divided by school, swimming, socializing and unexpected trips to the library or Superstore or the St Albert walking trails. I haven't had time to read what I want or watch the movies I want for what seems to have been a long time. But now, seeing as swimming and the bigger part of my school is finished, I will finally have time to read my books and watch these films:
West Side Story
The French Connection
25 June 2010
I will miss the push to paddle my feet faster. I will miss the loud commands to swim long sets. I will miss the other swimmers I always tried my hardest to beat. I will miss pushing to the limits to shave seconds from my best time. I will miss the serotonin. I will miss my coach.
Tonight, is the last night. The last practice. The last time I will put on a swim cap and goggles willingly; the last time I will sit in the whirlpool after the set to hear schoolgirl gossip and the latest on the Pittsburgh Penguins. It will be the end of something I've grown to love and look forward to; but at the same time it will be the beginning of free evenings and real summer.
But I will miss it a lot.
22 June 2010
When school becomes overwhelming, there's nothing more refreshing than leaving my house and walking down the gravel road towards the highway; just thinking about the things I've read and the things I have planned for the summer. Everything is so simple when there's just the wind, my mind and open-toed sandals.
21 June 2010
Swimming is almost over. I don't know what I'll do without it.
I've been in a swim club since the beginning of September, last year. The club expects its swimmers to show up at various pools 6 days a week, for 2 - 2 1/2 hours at a time. The group I was shoved in is called "Youth Development"; the group you're thrust into if you're 13 or older but aren't fast enough for the "Performance" group.
When I first joined, I felt inadequate and terrified. There were several kids in my lane, all faster than me and experienced with things like 'pace times' and 'sets'. Thankfully, my coach was patient with me and explained what it all meant -sort of. She didn't seem expect much of me, at least at first, but eventually discovered how much I wanted to make it, so she began pushing me hard enough that I began beating the other swimmers. It was all so new for me, but as I grew stronger and faster it became less scary and more exciting.
Now, it's June. There are only 5 practices left [including the one this evening], with a meet on Saturday. That day will mark the last time I ever don a swim cap in the name of Olympian Swim Club. I've been grieving the loss for a week or so now.
I will miss it all terribly. I'm finally at the top of my game, and it's all over. I wouldn't mind going back next year, but it's expensive and time-consuming. All I can say is I'm glad I accepted the challenge when my mother dared me to join last summer. It hasn't been for nothing.
What I enjoyed most about the whole affair was the push-to-the-limits mindset it gave me, the sarotonin increase which rescued me from many depressed evenings, the push-yourself attitude that arose in me, the weight I lost and the self-satisfaction.
19 June 2010
This week, I have so very much to do. In fact, this entire summer is going to be so busy that I might as well write off any time for myself as 'not gonna happen'. This is depressing.
However, stresses aside, today I hung out with friends. We went to the Farmer's Market, explored an abandoned parkade full of funny graffiti, climbed trees, drank huge lime slushies, received several sun burns and saw Toy Story 3 at a dollar theater. It was all very fun and the film was brilliant.
I wish I wasn't behind. I could handle a whole summer-full of days like today.
15 June 2010
14 June 2010
A few days ago, my mother declared that my continuous procrastination must end. I gave her a blank look over the rim of my science textbook, then slowly nodded in agreement. After sliding the book from my hands, sitting across from me and earnestly looking me in the face, she told me that she was thinking of signing me up for 'correspondence' in September; to give me some 'structure'. What did she mean? Real school. I was surprised.
If she goes through with it, it will mean that for the first time ever, I will have an actual 'teacher', I will be forced to write 'tests', I will have assignments. There will also be deadlines. Truthfully, it's all terribly daunting for someone who's only known traditional homeschooling all her life! However, it will be nice because it's all through my computer -no prissy cliques or long bus rides! I will also receive a high school diploma at the end of it.
Originally, mother & I had been planning upgrading courses at either Grant MacEwan or NAIT university. This seemed alright at first, but we soon decided that we would be 'upgrading' on things I didn't know yet. I'm rather behind, you see. But if I go through correspondence, there will be no need for me to 'cram in' my 30 courses. I will actually finish school on time so I will make it into university on time. The diploma will be so, so helpful and I will have a real handle on what I'm doing.
Now, it's a pity that merely July and August mark the months of real 'freedom' from academics. It's also a pity that my 2 months of alleged freedom shan't be completely free. However, they will be productive and used well. Since I am behind, I can't afford to leave a slothful space of 2 empty months before being thrust into real school in September. I also have a future resume to think of, so volunteering and lifeguarding courses are also necessary.
Things to do this summer:
-Physical Science [422 pages]
-Algebra 1 [120 chapters]
-Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand [1206 pages]
-I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstaedter [24 chapters - 10 left]
-The gospel of John [memorizing chapters 1-5]
-Counselling at Camp Nakamun [one week]
-Bronze Star swimming course
-A trip to Jasper [one week]
-A trip to Vancouver [4 days]
-Shakespeare in the Park
-Make a summer dress
-Make a new bag
-Finish ink portrait of Beethoven
-Pierce my ears
-Write a short story
12 June 2010
Today I will see a friend of mine named Samantha. We have plans to hold a movie marathon in her tiny basement, equipped with a huge TV and crunchy food. She will be making me watch The Proposal and The Hangover, while I in turn make her endure Pride & Prejudice. I'm sure I will laugh and remark on the looks of Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds in her movies, while she will cry and praise the cinematography and acting in mine.
I love making people watch excellent films. Especially when I've been made to see terrible ones. The pity is it will be 17 degrees outside while we grow pale and fat in the basement. We should be like normal children and go to the park. Oh well.
10 June 2010
This morning I walked my dogs to a forest near my house. It was early and the air was fragrant with rain and wet earth and pine needles. My boots were soon covered in mud and I got dew all over my olive capri pants. I even sang a little.
I love post-rain excursions.
09 June 2010
For the past few years, I've been discovering that the most difficult, hard or trying things are almost always the most satisfying, pleasant and even healthy things for us. The things which take persistence, motivation, effort and sometimes courage.
In fact, I'm not the only one to think this. I recently went to a conference featuring a set of twins by the names of Alex & Brett Harris, preaching about the dumbing-down of our generation [Y; anyone roughly 25 and younger] with lies like 'that's too hard', 'I'm too young', or any other lame excuse to stay lazy, dumb and 'bored'. They declared the best way to fix this is to 'Do Hard Things':
1. Things above what's expected or required
2. Things which challenge the cultural norm
3. Things outside your comfort zone
4. Things too big to accomplish alone
5. Things which don't earn an immediate payoff
I agree 100%. In fact, they put into more eloquent words something I had been feeling and complaining about to my mother [and friends] for a huge portion of my existence. I've always felt belittled by any adult because no one expects anything from us, lazy young people. Go to any department or grocery store, ask an employee where to find/do something and you will discover the members of our generation who are pushing this point.
Obviously, I can't exclude myself completely from those who are stuck in this idling culture, since I've shirked my share of chores and done less than what was required of me enough times to prove that I have not escaped. However, I've always prided myself in putting 110% effort into any project, feat or job, simply because I thought it was more impressive, and that I would receive either more pay, more praise or become known for it.
But now that I see just how much the rest of my generation suffers with hard things, I plan to work even harder myself. I want to prove that 'adulthood' doesn't just start at 18 or 21. Adulthood [or, more specifically, being a responsible, independent, working member of society] can start anytime.
Why not now?
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Do hard things, people. They pay off.