So yesterday was prom and unfortunately I couldn’t go because of my being sick for the past week. I did go out because I was feeling better, but I thought prom would be too active and demanding, so instead I went to my weekly Friday night small group. It was fun, and I’m glad that since I didn’t go to prom I did get to do something else. Afterwards I went to the after prom which was a lot of fun. There I did a giant hamster ball race thing (though I lost because someone knocked me off the track entirely), I did a velcro wall (with mixed success because let’s just say that if you don’t do it completely right, you get… um… a front wedgie REALLY hard. I also failed entirely and fell out the side of the inflatable and smashed my head into the ground), some bike racing (which I also lost at), a Wipeout “Big Balls” course (which I rocked actually), a photo booth, some gambling, and I won an auction on a prize pack. It’s a decent prize pack, so I’m not going to complain. All in all, it was a very fun, good night. That being said though, I’m still very bummed out about not going to prom. Driving to the small group, it was the first time I’d been out of the house in a week, I made myself up in my best casual look, it’s spring time, I just felt the “prom spirit” if you know what I mean. So what I want to talk about is basically prom and getting involved, seizing the moment, that kind of stuff. I’ve done it before, I know, but I’m hoping this one has a little bit of a different spin.
So I did actually attend prom last year. I can’t remember if I wrote about it last year, but I did go and it was a lot of fun. I had a date, we danced a lot, we went to after prom, got dressed up, took photos, ate dinner before hand, the whole prom package. It was really a lot of fun, and this year I really wanted to go again. I’ve said before that I have this part of me that can’t miss anything. I have to do everything, be everywhere, see everybody or I get really uncomfortable and I start posting things like this :P. I knew as I was driving to the small group that hundreds of kids were getting ready to go to prom. They were standing in the front yard getting their pictures taken, doing their hair and makeup, fixing their dress or suit, maybe having the dinner date, or heading off to the dance. Meanwhile, I’m dressed in a t-shirt and athletic shorts driving the opposite direction. The sun was behind the clouds and making the sky all bright and magical looking, and I felt so detached, like I was missing all the magic. At the after prom, I listened to some of the music they had playing and the outfits people were wearing and I was reminded of last year. I won’t say I can dance, but I like to do it anyway. I know prom is like 85% grinding, but some of us “dance.” I missed it. I like the feeling of just being around your friends and having a good time making a fool of yourself. I do it without music, but when you add music, it’s more fun. It was sad having to miss the party. And while I’m here, let’s just point out that this is me SENIOR PROM. This is supposed to be the capstone to the high school experience, your last hoorah. Senior prom is something that people remember until they die. Buffy’s senior prom is one of the most beautiful episodes of that show, and for a girl who lives such a tortured and abnormal life, her senior prom is the one perfect and magical and “normal” night in her life. Now, I’m not a super hero, but that’s what senior prom is made to feel like. A night of magic and perfect ecstasy, saying goodbye to high school and childhood and moving on to a different world. Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of it than I should be, but that’s what I think prom is. It’s special, and when I have children and grand children some day, I won’t be able to tell them how magical my senior prom was because I didn’t go because of a stupid virus. I’m not upset about what actually happened that night because I did have fun, but just knowing what could’ve been and should’ve been makes me upset.
I think that’s all the crying about prom I have to do. I’m seriously bummed about it. But now let’s move to a bigger picture. Prom is just one example of opportunities and choices. By this, I mean that we need to live in the moment and enjoy life and seize the day, carpe diem. Prom happens once or twice in your life (unless you’re some studly freshman/sophomore) and then you’re done. You don’t get a second chance at it. It’s a trademark of high school. What I’m getting at here is how passive I think so many of us are, myself included. We pass opportunities up daily to make our life magical or extraordinary. I get that many people would rather do something else for prom, but for goodness sake, break out of normality. Don’t skip prom so you can do your same old Friday night routine. Make it special. I was talking to a friend of mine a few years ago and she told me I should go to a football game. I told her no, and that I would be much more content staying home and doing the same old thing. Now I don’t truly regret skipping out on the football game, but I do regret the chance to make a memory. Someday when I’m old and frail, all I’ll have are my memories. I don’t want to have that feeling of wasting my life away. If I’m being honest, we all will sometimes, and this post isn’t going to spur me into a drastic change where I never do the routine stuff again. I don’t even believe routine is wasteful. What I’m hoping this does for me, and you too, is inspire me to say yes more. Take those opportunities that you wouldn’t normally take. If someone asks you to go to a concert, why not? You can always leave if it’s not your cup of tea. But you just might surprise yourself. Maybe you’ll meet your best friend, or your husband/wife. Perhaps you’ll have the chance to try a new restaurant that you never want to leave. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to save a life. This is all rather drastic possibility, but that’s all the future is: possibility. You’re not guaranteed the future. You’re blessed with the notion of free will. You can make your life into whatever you want it to be. That’s not to say if you want to be a pop star that it can just happen overnight, but you can sing for your friends and bring joy that way. You can live a joyful and fulfilled life no matter who you are: rich or poor, male or female, black or white, young or old. Everyone has the choice to seize the day or let it pass them by. It’s different for every person, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I know I’ve passed opportunities by to have a more eventful and special life. I say no to things more than I say yes. I wish I hadn’t, and I’m hoping in the future I’ll say yes more.
Go to prom even if you don’t think it’s for you. Go to a baseball game or a football game even if you don’t know how to play it, or any of the players are, or which team is which. Go see a movie that you wouldn’t normally watch. Eat at a new restaurant instead of the same old fast food chain. Learn a new language to communicate with the people you see every day, or just the hell of it. The important thing to do is to just go for it. As stupid as the saying is, you really do only live once. You have one shot at this world. You only have so many trips ’round the sun. It’s a struggle. I know because I struggle with it too, but struggle doesn’t mean give up, it should mean keep going. Don’t stop. I’m going to be keeping my eyes out for opportunities to get out there more, and I will try my best to say yes to them. The only way I’ll know for sure is to just go for it.