Looking Back At My Life Essay
Sometimes at night, when it is so dark the darkness becomes almost smothering, I lie awake listening to the cars outside and the endless crying of the baby next door. I think back through my life, to try and comfort me into restful sleep.
I remember summers from my junior school days. The images yellowy, orange, warm, happy. Endless weeks abroad, the sun almost unbearable in its cruel sunburnt heat. A time when swimwear wasn’t a terrifying thought—flabby thighs, see-through bikinis were things I was oblivious to. My parents, endless sources of ice-creams and drinks, not the embarrassing, overprotective people they have become.
Every year I would go to summer camp—my sister, our two best friends, Jemima and Sally, and myself. We awaited the holiday with desperate anticipation. When I was ten we went to France alone for the first time; our previous camp experiences had been confined to a large mansion house in Shropshire. There we were at the coach station on the departure date. Armed with matching purses, our straw-blonde hair drew us together, a giggling, whispering bunch, the most devoted Boyzone fans. We were an endless source of lies. We were a set of orphaned quadruplets. We had been left millions and lived on our own with seven swimming pools with dolphins in them. We were almost feminist in our approach to boys, the fat boy who dared to send Sally a love letter obviously had not realised the cruelty of which we were capable. After arranging a secret midnight liaison behind the archery course we bombarded him with water bombs and cruel chants.
We were exclusive, we needed no-one else. We scoffed at the other girls and made up secret names for them that kept us awake until midnight giggling. The entrance to our room was taboo, out of bounds to anyone other than ourselves. A place where innocent inquiries could end up with your hand trapped in the door and where friendly invites always had hidden agendas. A place where the boys from our group would congregate eagerly trying to guess the password and secret knock. They were a gangly, nerdy crowd and were an endless amusement to us. Toby mistaking the shower for a french toilet, Ben crying constantly for no apparent reason, and Mark the little, hairy one, an unfortunate target for our jokes.
I smile to myself as numerous comical incidents flash randomly across my mind. Just as sleep is beginning to tug at my eyes and my thoughts are turning to dreams a more sobering picture comes to me. My innocent childlike memories are shattered. I think where we all are now—the ‘blonde bunch,’ ‘friends forever’—and come up with a more recent vision. The fallout, when the tables were turned and I was the one they wrote spiteful notes to, the one they giggled at, whispered about. Suddenly those holidays don’t seem so nice; they were an omen of what we were to become, bitching, malicious, ruthless teenagers.
(May 30, 2006)
Life is full of unexpected surprises. There are many opportunities when one can secretly wish for something exciting to happen – something out of the ordinary. The real surprise is when the wish unexpectedly comes true. I never believed that something like this could ever happen to me; such a thing that would make me stop and look back at the events in awe. I think you would agree that something as simple as being lost in the forest for less than ten minutes should have no influence on my life. If you do agree, that makes both of us wrong.
Throughout my childhood, I loved the wild. My family and I would always go for a walk in the downtown forest of Coote’s Paradise. There were many times I thought of what could happen if we were to lose our way from the trail and have to live off of the land until we found our way back to civilization. I thought it would be the greatest experience ever.
As my brothers and I grew older, we continued to go for these walks with our parents but the dreams of living in the forest I soon forgot. That’s when it happened. We decided to take a different path off the main trail. Before I knew it, the path had disappeared and no one in my family could tell where we had come from. It was so unexpected. It gave me a feeling of excitement that can’t be described. Everything in the forest seemed different. The trees were a deeper shade of green. The birds chirped in a different tone. Vines covered almost every inch of the ground. One part of me never wanted this moment to end. I felt completely free from the stress of my life outside of the woods. It was this moment that I realized that I would much rather stay here for the rest of my life than go back to society.
I think that another reason that I felt carefree was because my parents didn’t panic. They took the situation under control and headed for any open area in hopes to find a map (many of these maps were found throughout the grounds, telling you where you were). From my point of view, at the time, it seemed as if they were excited as I was about losing our way. In the end, it only took my parents ten minutes to find such a map and we were back on the trail in no time.
An experience like this made me think about my place in life. I’m the type who loves seeking out adventures. When we were lost, I realized that I had everything I would ever need with me – my family. They’ve always supported me in everything I do. This experience made me realize that families need to stick together; you don’t realize how much you need them until, for a moment, you think they’ll be the last people you see for the rest of your life.
It’s incredible how much a simple thing like being lost in a forest for ten minutes will affect your outlook on life. Things like not being able to find your way back to where you came from make you appreciate the little things in life. Looking back on the day, I realize now that it was fate. Moments like that are few and far between and should be taken as a lesson. Surprises like this were, and always will be, an unexpected gift for all.