Taking the Plunge

Natalie Li, News Editor

How do you live life?

Do you plunge headfirst into tentative waters, disregarding the choppy waves, or firmly plant your feet behind the yellow tape? Personally, I tiptoe along the lines, straddling the two frontiers of routine/safety and the great unknown. I question whether I can spare another leap and make my way through the ponderous dark.

Now, I find that the inevitable unknown lies directly ahead of me, as in 3 weeks I’ll be leaving Campo and the last 4 years of my life as I’ve known it. Excitement is underrated, as is anxiety. I look back at my past and ask myself, have I done everything I’ve wanted to?

Recently, a friend asked me if I was a cautious person. I conceded that I more or less don’t take as many chances as I wish.

I’m a planner, a rationalizer. I look to long-term effects far more often than the immediate. If I encounter an unfamiliar obstacle, I’d rather pull out than continue. I didn’t always use to be so guarded.

Yet, erring too much on the side of caution leads to too many regrets, longings, and irrefutable “what if’s?” Too often, fear defines the very mold of our actions.

I’m not saying that my 18 years of life have been nothing but full of regrets. As is common for anyone reevaluating his or her life, the moments I wish I could have altered stand out quite clearly.

In particular, I’m talking about people you tolerate, loathe, and love. Being simply nice is not enough. Letting people walk all over you is tantamount to cowardliness. I wish I could have stood up for myself in these instances.

No matter how many fun times or inside jokes you’ve shared with someone, there is no justification for having to deal with a person’s ulterior motives. My hard won advice to anyone in this situation: distance yourself. It isn’t worth it.

How do you know when someone is worth it? We all have our character flaws, and some we are more likely to forgive than others. Most people I know dislike traits such as arrogance, narcissism, or insensitivity. The one trait I cannot stand is manipulation.
A friend is a companion who will support you, not use your friendship to bolster his or her own self up. You cannot stay close to someone whose treatment of you resembles Moraga weather: although it may be just dandy in the sun, you’ll be left frozen when the chill hits. It is the person that is there for you and cares enough not to judge you that is the true friend. When you lose someone like that, it hurts.

Should I have taken more caution with my relationships? Probably. After all, confronting the people you care about is known to be the hardest of all.

I want to be able to act upon things I mean, say what needs to be said, and settle what needs to be settled. There is no life without completion, no goals without accomplishments. When I head off to college in a few months, I need to be able to look back and be satisfied with my actions.

I know that there are people out there that will hurt me. I know that they will not be important in the long run. But with others, I also know that they may be worth it.

I’ve met a lot of people these 4 years that I will miss dearly: some of whom I wish I could have used more caution, some of whom I wish I could have taken more risks. You won’t be able to experience a person for who he or she is until you take that chance, make that leap. Only from there are you able to judge their character for yourself.

I can confidently say I’m ready to take that plunge.