“Sometimes, I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” –Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

The first bell rings, signaling the day to come. The day will be almost identical to the previous one, including routine classes with lesson plans and an occasional assessment, a too-short lunch period with cafeteria politics that overwhelm the room, and the final bell representing the end of the day, just hours until the start of another identical day.

The weight of all the lives that you want to live almost breaks you. This life of routine and boredom does not challenge you. You ask, will there be anything in this life that will invigorate me, that will challenge me to my core, that will make me realize I am living my life rather than existing through it?

And the answer is yes. High school is minuscule in this vast world, a world of passion, adventure, love, lust, pain, rejection, heartbreak, loneliness, and every other emotion that there is to feel. There is so much to experience and so much to feel in this life. Believe me when I say that if you want to experience it all, you can.

When experiencing life to the fullest, you must feel everything. You feel the beauty, the passion, the love, the companionship so incredibly deeply. Along with this, rejection, heartbreak, lost love, denial is also felt so deeply. This pain will consume you for as long as you let it.

At first, relish in the pain. Process it, feel it. And understand that this is the first step in realizing that you are alive. This pain will force you to realize that you are alive, that you are willing to put your heart on the line and feel something, anything in this life.

However, this pain is nothing compared to not knowing; it’s nothing compared to not knowing if you are merely existing in this world. So welcome the pain. It will be excruciating. It will consume you for a little while, but it will remind you that you are alive.

Your life feels small. You feel small. Small high school, small town, small entity, unable to change the world. But you will. And it’s okay to feel small, because that means that there is a vast world ahead of you. This means that you have so much to experience and so much to feel in this big world.

Right now, you are accepting the life, the love, you think you deserve: mediocre, not challenging you, invigorating you, or stimulating you. Believe me when I say this world is vast. This world is overflowing with love, companionship, beauty.

It is also tainted by pain, fear, rejection, and loss. But you have the power to experience it all. You need to experience it all, because it will make life worthwhile. In being vulnerable to all these emotions, life, your life, will be unforgettable.