Mattie’s Musings: Learning to Dance and a Strange Circumstance

“It’s simple, really,” the dance instructor said. I stood nervously, attempting to map out the steps of the salsa in my head. One two three—pause—four five six—pause.

It was a Thursday, and on Thursdays, I dance.

I’m caught in a quest to experience everything, to try as many new things as I can. “Now line up with your partners and I’ll put the music on.”  The fast-paced, exciting, and oddly familiar music has become the soundtrack of my life.

The spring season of senior year has proven to be one of the strangest periods of my life. College decisions are out; change is so near but everything still feels oddly the same.

I drive down the same almost-renovated streets to the same school; I encounter the same people in the hallways during the week and at Golden Bagel on the weekends. Not only have I spent four years at Westview, I have also spent every one of the 17 years of my life in the same home, in San Diego.

The more I realize that this whole college thing is becoming reality, the more I realize that I’m going to be leaving. Soon, I’ll find another place to call home.

Whether we’re leaving San Diego or not, we are all going to walk into a whole new life once we march to the cadence of names at graduation. While I’m still here, a high school student and resident of San Diego, I have made a vow to experience new things and get everything that I can out of being here.

So, I dance.

Part of the reason why I have set out to experience and explore is because I have been reminded of how lucky I am to live where I do. Weeks ago, I  explored new territory and found myself standing in an unfamiliar spot of San Diego, admiring the ocean on the humanizing cliffs of Point Loma. It was my first time visiting that part of San Diego. As I listened to the thundering of the ocean and let the wind chill my skin, I was overcome with love for my home.

Seventeen years living here and that was my first time ever standing on that cliff, feeling the cool, refreshing winds that should be trademarked to Point Loma. I know that there are too many places to see and dances to learn for me to experience it all before I leave, but I know that I will get the most out of these strange, anticipatory times by throwing myself into everything that I can.

It’s too easy to give into laziness, to be weighed down by the effects of four years of stress. But I’ve come to believe that it’s more than worth it to take advantage of this place we call home and to never stop trying new things.

It seems to be the perfect time to slow down after years of pushing and realize who and where we are. Although everything has seemed to be eerily the same for four years of high school or seventeen years of life, it’s never too late to learn something about yourself. By joining The Nexus staff, learning yoga, and starting barre classes; by exploring San Diego, watching all the sunsets I can, and spending time with my family, I feel I am doing just that.

I want to embrace my remaining months as a resident of Westview and ambitious explorer, discovering uncharted territory within San Diego. I want my life to be overflowing with color like the salsa music. So, on Thursdays, I dance.