“Everything Changes but Change itself”
-John F. Kennedy
Everything is changing, that is the one thing in life that I am certain. Although change is inevitable, we are always trying to keep the things that mean the most to us from changing. When looking back on my life there is a distinct place that has never physically changed, however the people within it have. Somerset Estates is the neighborhood where I grew up. It is one of the few neighborhoods in my town that is a “closed” neighborhood that means that there is one entry way and one exit and no development is allowed within in it. It is the only thing in my life that I know will always look the same.
Like I said there is one entrance and one exit to my neighborhood, so no matter which way you leave, which street you turn on, you will always come in and out at the same place. Some people would laugh thinking that an entry way has some significant meaning to me but within 20 feet, there are a million memories that come along with it. The first thing you will see when driving in is a pond. For years, the city has tried to remove this pond and put the classic “neighborhood pool” in but the close family that lives within the houses of my neighborhood will never allow this. I would consider this pond to be bipolar, one day you drive in and its beautiful with the fountain flowing and the next day it is covered with moss. Funny thing is, I could relate to this pond. As I grow older, I see that not every day is a perfect. One day I could be on top of the world and the next have it crashing on top of me, this pond is one of the most ugliest, prettiest ponds you will ever see but no matter what kind of day it is, it will always be there. When I see this pond, I think of my family. I grew up in a very close, tight knit family, I am very grateful that I have parents who fell in love at 15 and have continued to show me that love is real. I have three older brothers, who are the stereotypical older brothers, very protective and throughout my life these incredible people have brought me to this pond, whether it be to push me in or to tell me something that is hard to say. Although I have ton of great memories about this pond, there are a few special ones that stick out. One winter season, there was a horrible snowstorm that left us kids out of school for a week. My brothers thought it would be a good idea to go sledding down by the pond since there is a huge hill that leads to it. When we were kids, we were always competing; who could eat the most, who could run the fastest, etc. So on this particular day we were seeing who could sled the furthest, so as I got ready to sled down, my brother Josh cheated and gave me a little push, the next thing I knew I was sitting in the middle of the pond which was frozen at the time but slowly cracking. I remember the look on my brother’s faces like it was yesterday, the sudden look of shock. I don’t exactly remember the time line of events but within a twenty-minute span, they had left me, got a bunch of supplies at home and were thinking of ideas of how to get me out of the middle of the pond. It eventually came down to throwing me an extension cord and pulling me back to land. It was a scary experience but after I was okay and on land, we laid in the snow and laughed for 5 minutes straight.
After passing the pond you will come to your first street that you can turn on, Ivy Lane. This street is not the street I live on but it might as well be. When we moved into this neighborhood there were ten other families moving in as well, out of those ten, five families had girls my age. These girls are the people I think of when I think of my childhood. We were inseparable, I can’t think of a day in summer where we weren’t all spending the night together, sneaking out and going to different places in my neighborhood or just laying on our drive ways talking about what we were going to be like when we grow up. I always heard the saying, “eventually you guys will grow apart” or “go your separate ways” but I never consider it because in my eyes these girls would forever be my best friends. The sad part about this is that it has been 5 years since I have talked to any of these girls. This is the part of change that I hate, as much as I wish I could say those people were wrong, they were so right. Sometimes when heading home, I take a right on this street even though there are many emotions that come over me. There is a sense of sadness and loss but there’s always happiness that comes after because even though I haven’t spoken to these girls, I know they are off doing something great in the world.
Finally you end up at my house, 1212 SW Wintergreen Lane. I have been writing this address for quite some while but I never really think about how much this short line of numbers and letters mean to me. I fill up with happiness and joy when pulling into my driveway. It is a place where I feel safe. When I’m in the driveway, I see so much of my life there. Whether it be the place where the bus picked me up for my first day of school or the spot where I held a grudge on my Dad for making me practice 10 minutes longer on my free throw shot. I mentioned this before but when living in a city, it’s hard to look up in the sky and actually see stars; this drive way was a place for me to breathe in some of the dark sky. I spent many nights on my driveway, whether it be with my friends or family or alone but there is one night I remember more than ever. It was a night that is permanently marked into my brain and its one I will never forget. My brother Josh was babysitting for my parents one night and a horrible rainstorm had just passed through. I could never fall asleep during loud rainstorms but I was lying there awake at 11:00 p.m., thinking this is the late night for a nine year old but eventually the rain stopped and I drifted to sleep. I remember my brother coming in and looking at the clock to see 11:30 p.m., he look concerned but he said he wanted to talk to me and show me something. I remember walking outside and sitting on the driveway thinking my brother was crazy for letting me stay up this late, the rain had passed and the stars were beaming. He began to say things that at the time I couldn’t comprehend but eventually they began to sink in. I lost a very good friend that night. The next couple days were very hard for me but every night at a certain time, I would go outside and just look at the sky and I remember in my nine-year-old mind that I believed him to be one of the stars. That drive way is just a slab of pavement but to me it’s more than that, it’s a place of significance, a place of meaning.
My neighborhood is a small place compared to many things in the world. From the outside, it looks like just a bunch of houses randomly put together but to me each square foot in my neighborhood has some significance to my life. Change is a weird concept to think about but when you put it into perspective, it’s another lens to look at life through. It gives us a reason to look back, to reminisce and to hope that in the future we will be able to greet change and help it to define the next chapter in our lives.