I used to be quite different, actually-- judgmental and rude, pessimistic, a put-downer and quiet. Long story short about my personality, I was the exact opposite of what I am today. Sure, I was nice, but after I met three different people, they turned my world upside down completely upside down.
It was during the first day of fifth grade. The new fifth grade teacher, in a really kind voice, asked me to go and pick a desk group to sit in. In that year, one of my friends moved away that summer and I turned really quiet and shy.
I looked around the tables and noticed one thing that was similar: all of them were either filled with guys or girls. And, depending on the people that sat there, I made guess on what type of people they were. I was a judgmental person back then. I thought looks mattered, not personalities. And almost none of the tables had a combination of boys and girls.
Except for one.
There, facing near the teacher's desk were two guys and a girl, two whom I didn't recognize. From the far end of the room was a girls table. Both of them had vacant seats. I didn't know which one to pick! I felt sad for the girl sitting with the guys, but at the same time, I didn't want to sit with them. What if they were mean or smart-alecky? And then, after frustrated thinking, I decided to sit at the table with the one girl.
I thought I made a picked the wrong seat! The girl I sat next to (which we'll call WindyWacker), had big teeth, which I thought was odd. The guy diagonally from me had glasses (nicknamed for this Dr. Banana444), so I thought he was a nerd of some sort. The guy across from me (NinjaPlayer) I knew from last year, and, judging his appearance, I thought he was mean, with a fiery head personality.
For the first two weeks, we didn't talk much, only asking each other for things nicely. I’d always go through the day, constantly saying to myself, “I won’t care about these days after they’re over.”
We all had this weird conversation when the guy asked something.
Dr. Banana 444: Is Michael Jackson an actor?
Me: No, of course not. *rolls eyes*
WindyWacker: Yes, he is. He's in "This is It." You know, the documentary?
Me: That's a documentary.
Dr. Banana 444: I think he's an actor.
Me: No, he's not. Trust me on this; my dad's a Michael Jackson fan.\
WindyWacker: He is an actor. It appears on the credits.
Dr. Banana 444, WindyWacker and me: *all bickers*
NinjaPlayer: .... Guys? Uh, guys?
Me: What? *bickering stops*
NinjaPlayer: Michale Jackson died on my birthday.
All: *quiet, awkward silence in the air*
Soon, all of us began to grow from our shells, and the judgments that I made at the beginning of the year were proven wrong. The girl who I sat next to was actually bubbly and optimistic, and she was actually proud of having bunny teeth instead of dreading having them. The guy with the glasses was very musical, being one of the only guys in the school's first choir and having a great voice. And the guy that sat across from me was really nice and was cool, calm, collected.
Despite our difference, we got along well. We did fun stuff together and hung out often, like making nicknames that matched our personalities and staring contests. In fact, the nicknames that were used to cover up their really names were the actually nicknames we gave to each other! I thought the fun was never going to end. The teacher, in fact, might have thought we were a huge inspiration for everyone, because he took a picture on his camera and used it as his screensaver for the classroom’s main computer!
Then, at the end of the year, did I realize several things.
I shouldn’t have judged my table group mates by how they looked, because looks didn't matter. Instead, it was people’s personalities that you should judge, and that’s what tells whether you would want to hang out and be around that person or not. If we judged people by how they looked, we might not like their personalities.
The second thing I realized happened was that all of the time that I spent with them- from those days singing songs to playing four square- I took for granted. Then did I understand the fact that we take so much for granted and never know how much it actually was until it’s gone. I understood that instead, we should enjoy and cherish every single moment with the things that we have and the ones who we love, because not everything lasts.
Did I regret what I did? No! Because I honestly wouldn't have learned from it, and I wouldn't be the person I am now. Some things that we had in our past-- like memories and old friends -- help us appreciate what we have now. And for that I am grateful.
The final thing I learned is that we tend to learn from these experiences. Our lives have some ups, downs and obstacles that we go through. But from these experiences we grow stronger as individual, physically, emotionally and mentally. And that, my friends, is how we tend to grow.