I spend too much time doing the same damn thing. Every day after school, you’ll find me in one place. That’s right where I am now, right in front of my computer. I honestly don’t have any of the big commitments that all my friends have.
When I was younger, I was into everything. I was into acting, into running, into baseball, into coin collecting, into pottery, into reading, into everything. And now it’s one dominant thing – the computer. I’m good at it, better than I ever was at all of my other things combined. I certainly enjoy it too. I love coding, I love writing here, I love making five times the money my friends make. But it’s just one thing, the same thing, every time.
I’ve recently dropped into envy of my two best friends. They are complete opposites from me (and comically similar to each other). I mean, they do everything. Science bowl, track and field, otter bowl, mathletes, cross country, and countless other things I’ve missed. I often wish that I had all these things to do as well.
Everyone thinks I’ve got my hands full. The track coach thinks I got too busy with theater ensemble. The thespians think I’m too busy with other extra-curriculars. But my big cowardly secret is that I don’t have that much happening.
I’ve always got more than enough to do – I’ve got a queue of people waiting to pay me to do their websites. But that stuff doesn’t have to happen. Shit, I’m only sixteen. Why do I need to be confining myself to office work when I should be exploring the boundaries of teenagerdom. I’m sure looking back, sitting in my cubicle ten years from now, I’ll be wishing I had lived it up a lit more. With this huge future in front of me, the only path I’m looking at is straight into web development. Seriously, when anyone asks me what I’ll be doing as an adult, I can give them a straight, confident answer. Sometimes that feels good, sometimes it feels terrible.
I think the reason I ended up on the computer is, strangely, cowardice. On the web, you can’t lose at anything. There’s no competition. I don’t have to train for a race, I don’t have to perform on game day. When I was really little, I remember walking alone down the streets of Albany, thinking of how if I just poured my soul into something, I could beat everyone, everyone, at anything. It was a beautifully pure, inspiring feeling, that I’ve unfortunately misplaced in the past few years. I have since realized, or just surrendered, that there’ll always be someone to beat me. The saddest thing is, that one idea has shooed me away from getting into anything new. I’ll never be at the top, so why even try? I hate, hate, hate that idea. But somehow it has constricted me. It’s always that ugly conscious: what do people think of how bad I am? My safe place has become the internet, and its incalculably vast opportunity to be the king of anything you like.
So now I’m here, wondering what to do next. I want something new, I really do. People keep telling me to rejoin track, and I’d like that. But then I dismiss myself, I’m just not fast. Moan! I’ve recently discovered new things to love, like French. But they aren’t things I can train for, things I can work on afterschool.
I think what I really need is something to suck at. Some team sport I’ve never tried before, where I can just go in proud and not worry about making a fool of myself. What might that be? I’ve yet to place it. Of course, if there’s something I could be good at too, that would might be fun.