Column: ‘Time is almost up’


Parker Nolan

Senior Mandy Halbert shares her goodbye to Lovejoy High School.

Mandy Halbert, Staff Reporter

As a senior, the reality of leaving home lingers in the back of your mind. It tells you it’s coming soon. Fear haunts you every day as reality inches closer and closer. 

Like all students my age, I suppress it. I compact it and store it away in that little safe we all have in the back of our minds. That little safe where we keep the stuff that scares us the most.

We lock it up in subconscious hopes that it will go away and we won’t be forced to deal with it. But fear is an escape artist, and he always finds a way to make himself our reality.

He escaped yesterday. He broke out and reminded me that this is it. Time is almost up.

This time he came in a rose.

The baccalaureate rose ceremony symbolizes unity. Our whole class connected by a single ribbon. That ribbon would be broken at the end of the service to symbolize all of us going our separate ways. And when that cord hit the ground, I was hit with a tsunami of fear. I realized that all these people that I see every day and have grown up with will be gone next year.

Some in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa, Colorado, and some in who knows where for the military. Some I’ll keep in touch with and some will drift away.

That’s how it happens for everyone. People you see every day eventually become nothing more than a face in a yearbook. High school, as much as it may feel like it sometimes, is not your whole life. Eventually you leave it all behind. You take with you what is most important and let go of the people and memories that don’t matter anymore.

We spend our childhoods preparing for adulthood. But no amount of preparation can prepare us for the reality of being on our own. It seems that the closer I get to the end, the more I realize that I’m not ready.

Until now, I didn’t truly understand that my parents won’t be there with me to bring me dinner. They won’t do my laundry. They won’t remind me to do my homework or practice for band. They won’t even pay for my NFL subscription.

As much as appreciate those things, they aren’t what I’m most afraid of leaving.

When fear emerged from his cage this week, he told me that all the friendships I’ve built during my five years in Texas will never be same. Some will become stronger, some will become distant, some will dissolve completely.

Fear reminds me that I don’t know who will last a lifetime and who will become a courtesy Facebook friend (hidden from my newsfeed, of course).

In some ways, who stays and who goes will be up to me. I have to choose who I will make an effort to continue a relationship with, and as I’ve learned in high school, not all friends are worth keeping.

But while fear tries to take control, hope and curiosity push him back. They tell me the possibilities that wait in the future. They tell me that, despite how I feel, I am ready. They tell me that it’s time to become who God has designed me to be.

At this point in our lives, it can be hard to look past what we’re leaving behind. But we have to. We have to grow and figure out who we really are. As hard as it is to leave behind all the relationships we’ve formed, I know that these friends were only meant to shape me into the person I will be in the future.

So I want to say thank you to all those people I may never talk to after Saturday. No matter if we were best friends, acquaintances, or enemies (which for the record, I don’t think I have any) you have helped me grow. Thank you for the lessons you’ve taught me.

Lastly, I want to say thank you to my best friends. When I was at my lowest of lows, every one of you stayed by my side. You are all irreplaceable. You are all unforgettable.

To anyone reading this, remember that whatever happens in high school will change you. Make sure those things change you for the better. And when it’s time for you to grow up and leave, don’t be afraid. Roads go both ways. You will always be welcomed home.