Try Walking

By Kendyl Brower

I am always one step ahead. I pick out my outfits the night before. I make lists every day of what I will do tomorrow. I stay up later than I should like it’s Christmas Eve because I am eager about what tomorrow brings. My chin always sits in the palm of my hand as I fantasize about what’s next. My ambition has trumped all aspects of life as I keep a peering eye on the future at all times. 

Though I am not the fastest runner, my competitive soul has a need for speed, always one foot in front of the other, reaching for the next step. This was my mindset: get work done and get it done quickly. I always strived to do something beneficial to my future and never to my current self. What courses should I take? Should I join this club? How many APs is too many? 

I kept speeding through high school. One day it was freshmen orientation, the next day was homecoming, and the next I was a sophomore. Every day felt like an hour, every hour felt like seconds, and I moved so fast that if you asked me what day it was, I couldn’t give you an answer. 

This fall I’ll be 2,562 miles away from everything I’ve ever known. My home, my family, my friends, Westmont, the local Trader Joe’s, Beercan Beach, Santa Cruz, the Silicon Valley, California. My lifelong dream of moving to the east coast and getting into my dream school is finally here and for the first time in my life, I am not ready for the future—I am afraid. I don’t have a to-do list for the next four years, or 100 outfits planned, or the survival tactics necessary for being in New York winters. Now that I have finally achieved my big plans… what now? 

I’m always one step ahead, but now I just want to backpedal and live it all again—sometimes I wish I could freeze time and just soak it all in before it’s too late. I still plan out my fits, make lists, stay up later than I probably should; but I’m learning to slow down. To appreciate the beauty of California, my teachers who are like parental figures to me, my friends who are like sisters, my family who supports me through it all. 

Every night  my dad asks me, “What’s something that happened today that you’ll remember in 30 years?” A freshman Kendyl would begrudgingly murmur a high score on a quiz. I now answer with much more heart, perhaps a Crema cafe sesh talking with friends, or a late-night bonfire roasting marshmallows on a school night. 

Four years seems like a long time, but if you’re sprinting through the experience, it’s all a blur. Remember that you are not running out of time, you are just running too fast—slow down a little, maybe try walking.