The beginning of junior year of high school was one of the hardest few months of my life. In this time I lost focus of who I was, what I needed, and what made me happy. Like most working people, I had (and have) a pretty packed schedule, all the time. I’m sure you can relate – work, school, family time, fitness, somewhat of a social life, significant others, personal time, – I struggle to manage all of this everyday. One year has passed since junior year and a lot has changed, mostly I have undergone immense personal growth.
Recently, I got the opportunity to take a week off and travel to Arizona and I couldn’t have been more excited. Unlike last year, I’ve had plenty of time to think about myself on my time off. This much needed, and oftentimes unavailable, time has lead me to learn so much about myself. Here are a few of the things that I learned this week while in Arizona.
-I’m not a homebody, but I love where live. I live and go to school in northern Massachusetts and I certainly love New England and my hometown. As I’ve spent time for the first time in a COMPLETELY opposite environment, in Arizona, I realized that I love where I was raised. New England is totally different than everywhere else that I’ve traveled, especially Arizona. I like the way things are back home – I like the culture. It is beautiful here and the people are amazing; however, I’ve realized that for college and the future, I probably won’t settle far from Mass. (The snakes here are pretty damn cool though.)
-People all around the world are so different. Bostonians are usually more….robust (“Massholes”) than here in Arizona. Here, I don’t get the “go, go, go” vibe that Massachusetts profoundly boasts. Maybe it’s all the retirees, but things just seem more slow paced here. I like that aspect of life in Arizona. I had never had the opportunity to observe such a thing, the way people behave in their own community. I’m glad that I did though, thinking of what the daily environment around me is like; doing so made me evaluate what the people around me are like and also showed me what people in a different region are like.
-Traveling is amazing and if you don’t do it – start. Although flights and hotels can be costly, just the process of traveling is a great experience. This week I traveled form Boston to Atlanta to Phoenix, spending a great deal of hard-earned money and it was worth each and every penny. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to about ten majors cities in the U.S. and a few in Europe, learning a little bit more at each place. The experiences I’ve had traveling are invaluable and certainly wouldn’t have happened to me had I not left home. Especially for kids and teenagers, being in airports, seeing different cultures, meeting different people, and exposure to other environments adds to maturity.
Having this important time of reflection is something that I hopefully never loose. I believe that everyone should think about these things above, if they have not. Being happy with your own life is important, and reflecting on it is equally as important. I think that if I set time aside to relax and think, I will never meet “junior year Zack” again. See what you think of these things in your life. Do you have any time of reflection?