Get Off the Bench

Transitioning from the comfortable familiarity of childhood into the frontier of adulthood

As children, our nature is to run around, play, have fun and explore the world we live in. However, from the inception of our educational life, we are suddenly told to sit down and shut up. Now as seniors, we are once again told to stand up, play, have fun and explore the world we live in, though we’ve become so accustomed to sitting.

Although there is much that can be said against schools and the educational system in this country, making an effort to look beyond ourselves and at the world as a whole, it really isn’t that bad. It’s not bad at all actually. Witnessing for myself the effects of little to no formal education in my own family abroad, and as cliche as it may sound, education is a true blessing that not everyone gets the good fortune to receive. Life is smaller, harder,  and sadder when you are ignorant. Education really does open up the world and present endless opportunities.

Oftentimes I wonder how my life would have differed if I had never been taken out of my hometown of Sinaloa in Mexico and brought over here as a child. Judging from the rest of the girls my age in my family, I likely would not have finished high school, and I would probably be married and with a child. As ridiculous and unfathomable as it may sound, this is a reality in the majority of the world, especially for girls. I would have been no exception if I had stayed. But for reasons beyond my human comprehension, I was given a chance at a better life, and truly what a wonderful life it has been.

All my life I have secluded myself in the familiarity and security of my own being, often neglecting the company of other kids who I found oftentimes did not understand me nor I them. In every school there was a spot, the spot, where nobody ventured and I would not be bothered. This usually took the form of an old, broken down bench that was abandoned and forgotten in a neglected part of the school where no one went to play. Usually kids weren’t allowed to go into these abandoned places in the school, but I always snuck in there anyway and spent every break I had reading, eating, or simply reflecting there.

These places were my world, reliable, always there to keep me company, and the benches my trusted family. The books became my friends, and for many years of school, my only friends. The bench was my safe spot, eternally reliable. So for most of my school life I was in a self-imposed state of solitude, reflection, self-education, and more often than not, sadness.

The bench cannot show you the world or bring joy into your life. For that, one would need to get up off of it to explore and find it themselves. So, although the bench is undeniably a wonderful place to be alone with yourself and reflect once in awhile, it should not become a necessity. When the time comes for you as it has for me to get up off that bench, do run around, play, have fun, and explore the world who before we could only admire and observe from the comfort, security, and distance of the bench.

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