Though I’ve often wanted to be a considerate person, teenhood has often made that far from easy to fulfill. Amidst the turmoils of shifting from one phase of life to the next, it never feels like there’s enough time to slow down, whilst being bombarded with choices and questions of where the hell I’m headed for another decade of life- and then some more. As my senior year of high school dwindles to its last days, time seems to slip even faster, draining my hourglass of hours to minutes to moments.
The world seems so frustrating to have to launch into, never feeling like there’s enough of a path made to follow. Perhaps that’s good in the long run, to let myself stumble a little blindly until I find what feels right. But at the moment, it’s an anxiety-inducing annoyance, always leaving me turning around for a new thing to be done and decided. And when the world throws everything at me to consider at once, how can it still be an expectation to be considerate myself?
Yet, it can be. It is. There have always been others helping launch me into this world, and push me forth, further than I could ever go on my own. And as variably as I may remember that- let alone that they’ve faced just as much turmoil themselves in their own life- it’s valuable to be able to regain that gratitude nonetheless. Everyone can feel like a drop of water made to keep falling and fumbling through life- but we all land in the company of our collective ocean. And it’s hard to stay bitter in the depths, when I’m with others.
I now consider my own gratitude and thoughtfulness more often than I did when I was younger. But it’s still difficult to remember actually doing something about it, and making my gratitude meaningful to someone else. With the end of my high school years fast-approaching (and with it, my settled life in Austin) it’s all but my last chance to make my gratitude count. It’s a last chance to leave a little smile in the hearts of those that deserve mine the most.
I started compiling a list of teachers and staff members from my high school that I knew I just had to write a farewell letter of gratitude to. I began thinking of the teachers throughout my four years that impacted me the most, left me the most personal feedback, and showed they truly cared. But as my gratitude kept swelling, so did the list. Teachers that gave me recurring greetings in the hallway, or just made their classes fun. Teachers that let themselves be so human and genuine with their students, even when it was bemusing in the moment. Teachers that I had one year- or even just one semester- of classes with, but were kind and understanding nonetheless. There’s always more to be grateful for. There’s always more people to be grateful for.
If asked at the beginning of my senior year, this would have been far from the first thing I’d imagine doing at the end of my high school tenure. But I’d choose no differently than to keep writing out my gratitude, as much as possible. What matters right now is the now- and making sure the people around me now know my gratitude now.