By Lindsay Hand
One more year.
I have been waiting for this moment. The moment when I can say “one more year until I go to college, until I am an adult, until my life really begins.” From the Friday night fro-yo runs to the seemingly endless piles of work each year to the fun times spent with friends, Chappaqua is filled with memories upon memories. I have spent my entire life so far here, and though I have had some experiences living on my own away from home, I don’t think anything can prepare me for leaving completely.
It’s weird to think about the future. Sure, it’s exciting, but it’s also big and scary. It’s like part of me is Nemo –daring, adventurous, anxious to explore –and the other part is Marlin, holding that unruly part of me back, worried about what might happen if I let myself go. This final year here at home is important not only for obvious reasons–academics, family, and friends –but because it is my last chance to ready myself for immersion in the outside world, to come to terms with the fact that while I know my family will always be there for me, once I leave, I’m essentially on my own.
I know that I have lived a sheltered life here in Chappaqua, with many advantages not enjoyed by so many others. I have been so fortunate; I grew up with loving family, amazing friends and fantastic education. I have had so many opportunities to expand my horizons, challenge myself and test my abilities. The real test, however, will come next year, when I am living on my own in college, away from everything that I always just took for granted. As excited as I am for this new experience, I am admittedly nervous for my future endeavors and know I will miss almost everything about home.
There are the little things: brownies from the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, bumping into that person I knew five years ago in Starbucks, and that community feel at the homecoming game every Fall and Relay For Life each Spring. While we all might have complaints or pet peeves about one thing or another, I recognize that Chappaqua is a unique place in which I have been very lucky to have grown up, and it will most definitely be a culture shock when I’m no longer in this familiar environment.
There’s No Crystal Ball
It is one thing to think about the future from the comfort and familiarity of one’s house, but it is something else entirely to go out there and live it. Going to college and having to actually live life without parents (laundry doesn’t just clean itself) is an experience unlike anything any of us have ever been through before, other than, possibly, in small doses each summer; there are so many more responsibilities to manage, decisions to make. All of the studying and working hard over the years has not necessarily answered the question that plagues everyone from childhood through adolescence: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
A decade ago, our answers would have ranged from astronauts to Disney princesses to firefighters. Now, the answer doesn’t come so easily, and I’m pretty sure there’s no college major called Being a Disney Princess. In many ways, this is probably what scares us all the most; at 17-years-old, how can we possibly know for sure what we want to do for the entirety of our lives? I, personally, have no idea where life will lead me. All I can do is pursue my passions, go with the flow and make my life as full and happy as I can. Hopefully the rest will all fall into place.
As I stand at the precipice of my senior year of high school, ready to jump into my future, I am held back by the sudden shock that after this year, I may never again see many of the people with whom I have grown up. We’ll all move on, finding our niches whatever and wherever they may be, and going our separate ways. The future is arriving, and we have to make the most of this last year together.
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” – Steve Jobs
Two-time Inside Chappaqua Guest Editor Lindsay Hand is a senior at Horace Greeley High School. Growing up, she loved the Magic Treehouse books.