Seventeen Years

Written on November 5th, 2014

seventeen years has taught me that
too much planning is not a good thing
and that the Buddhists were not wrong
when they said desire is the root of all suffering
because it is the expectations of what you want
that hurt worse than anything you get
(absence is the most bitter of all tastes)

and seventeen years has taught me that
there will be a boy with pretty eyes who works his way into your head and
who is worth loving with every ounce of love you have
(so love him)
he may not be forever, but he will change you indefinitely
and you will find the courage to appreciate that

seventeen years has taught me that exams are better with donuts
but that you are not your test score, anyway
because no one can put a percentage on your humanity
or pin a number to the way you make people laugh
seventeen years has taught me that common sense is quite uncommon
but that you should trust yourself regardless
and find peace when you are wronged

seventeen years has taught me that there is no better feeling than acceptance
that you should not worry what people think of you
but still realize the impact you have on every one of them
that memories are often misimagined
and that that doesn’t make them any less comforting
because sometimes our illusions mean more to us than our truths
and that’s a very real thing

seventeen years has taught me that
one day you will wake up as a senior and realize that you’re losing everything
(this will be impossible to swallow)
you will have a last first day of school
and a last homecoming dance
and excitement will burn under every regret
but the shame will still be there, too
(this is not confined to the walls of high school)

seventeen years has taught me that it is never too late to fix a relationship
or say hi to the girl you’ve never spoken to –
she might be just what you need
(and you might be the same to her)

and seventeen years has taught me that
these halls will seem more yours than ever
when you have an ultimatum on how long you can keep walking them
that you will realize almost too late
just how blessed you’ve been to be surrounded by people
you thought you could never love
seventeen years has taught me that
there is nothing more important than growing close with your neighbor up the street
and learning that a shared taste in music can
mean a million different things

seventeen years has taught me that
you can get high on bad decisions and adrenaline
but that you’ll always crash
that even teachers live with demons
and as you grow up, your parents grow old
seventeen years has taught me that there is a certain pain in leaving,
but it hurts nothing like being left behind
and throwing caution to the wind might be
the best gift you ever give the summer breeze

seventeen years has taught me that almost every cliché you hear is true
(wisdom is still wise even if it’s already been said)
and that a nap during lunch can change your whole outlook for the day
seventeen years has taught me that
when a friend does something wrong,
you can’t forget what they have done right
and a surprise hot chocolate in your locker might be the nicest thing of your week

seventeen years has taught me that
there will always be someone better, and always someone worse
and that we are all blessed – or cursed – with our own hand of cards

but more than anything
seventeen years has taught me
how much I have left to learn