Guest Writer: Morgan Koetting is a sophomore in high school, and she is the Opinions Editor and Business Manager of her school newspaper. She is a member of NHS and NSHSS and enjoys reading and writing in her spare time.
It’s January. The luster of the holiday season has passed, and the grim winter settles in, monotonous routines becoming our norm. Oh joy.
When people ask how life is, my usual answer is merely “surviving school”. The question was about my life, and I answered tiredly with school. All the more, I say I’m surviving. Pathetic. Really, is this how I have come to view my life? Just barely getting by?
Now, I find myself with continual disappointment in the ordinary. Having spent much of elementary school watching Disney channel, high school seemed to be the ultimate place of independence and a worry-free lifestyle. Driving to see friends after school and parties every weekend, TV painted high school as an incredible place. It only failed to illustrate the impending doom of homework and the frequent late nights of scrambling to finish projects.
Recently, I happened to come across the documentary Life in a Day, a film which required people from over 190 countries to film their day on July 24, 2010 for this time capsule. After depicting grand adventures in exotic places to families staying strong through battles with cancer, the film ends with a normal girl filming her video log. She’s driving home from work. It’s midnight.
Her work day had been the same, long and arduous, and nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Needless to say, she was disappointed. With tears welling up in her eyes, she stammers, “I wanted to show something interesting could happen every day . . . I want people to know that I am here. I don’t want to cease to exist.”
There were several pauses as she relayed her dismay, but at the very end, her expression took a sudden change. With a grin carved in the corner of her mouth, she brushed a few tears from her cheeks, saying, “Even though nothing really great happened, tonight, I feel as though something great happened.” She blinked, and with that, the movie closed.
Out of the 4,500 hours of video they received, they chose a three minute clip of an average girl to conclude their movie. Nothing spectacular or even remotely climactic. Just the-girl-next-door relaying her chagrin of that day. I’ve watched the clip about seven times already, each time thinking, “That is so me.” Yet, like her, I’ve also been reflecting on the negative the whole time. Here I am, complaining about life, completely disregarding the good. Even though oh-my-goodness-my-life-will-forever-be-changed instances don’t happen every day, that doesn’t mean I must deem each day as wearisome.
I conducted a little exercise of writing what I love that happens in each normal day. Only intending to make a small list of three or four things, I spent most of a block period writing the list. Already, it had over fifty things on it by the time the bell rang.
While scribbling out my list, one particular memory came to mind. It had been after school last year, and I saw a group of people walking by, one accidentally spilling Goldfish on the floor. Completely dismissing the mess, the group just continues to walk on. A guy from a nearby group adjusted his bag, stooped down, and patiently picked up the crackers one by one. He showed no signs of exasperation or even wanting acknowledgement, just a random little act of kindness.
For something as simple as picking up after another’s mess, the memory still remains with me. Though very simple, days can take a change for the positive if we actively look for the positive. I stumbled upon a quote that said though every day may not be a good day, there is still good in every day.
Maybe it’s not that every day is as dull as we make it. We just fail to look for the positive.