Summer nights were the best. They still are. The whimsical ballad of the cricket, the gentle caress of a breeze, the luminous pavement bathed in moonlight below my window, the clear night sky like a black canvas with intricate designs and patterns strewn across the surface—all things that remind me of home. Of life. As a child, I have always found it breathtaking to look at the star-studded night sky; constantly sneaking out of bed just to have a quick glance, naming all of the constellations I knew by heart.
It was an impressive experience every time, to have a clear glimpse of the night sky beyond the clouds and the glaring lights of the city. Looking at the stars have always made me wonder if the skies were always like this—this elaborate. This magnificent. The stars have always provided another outlet for me, one where hopes and dreams were assured of rather than deliberately crushed. Crushed by the cold, brutal phenomenon known as reality. Let’s face it. Reality hurts. We will never be able to live up to our expectations, and reality just seems to crash down on us.
Ever since my freshman year, I had no time for anything anymore. For two gruelling semesters, I followed the uninterrupted cycle of juggling homework, quizzes, exams, projects, and five-page essays with my “supposedly existent” life. I barely had time to hang out with those I loved. I had to study for two exams while writing a four-page essay for English in order to fulfil the mantra of success and happiness in life through education. Work hard, then harder. No pain, no gain. Eventually, I grew distant from many of my friends, even my parents. So thus, I threw away my life and plowed through my studies like a good student should. As a result of my constant studying, I got straight A’s, stayed at the top of most, if not all, of my classes, and kept my six-year 4.0 GPA streak going. My parents praised me like they always had for the past six years while my “friends” congratulated me with strained smiles and hidden glares.
As the report cards and praises, both genuine and fake, became a constant everyday matter I dealt with, I soon quickly lost the interest of getting good grades. Getting an “A” on a test wasn’t the same anymore. It was just another sheet of paper with my name and red ink scrawled all over it. However, I still studied and got good grades, it was the only thing I knew to do after throwing my life away in exchange for hopes of a fortuitous life in later years to come.
One night in May, while I was burning the midnight oil to study for a Biology exam, windows open and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blaring in the background, my lamp burned out. This was completely frustrating as I had just opened the textbook to start studying. As I stood up from my seat to replace the lamp’s light bulb, I noticed the moonlight flooding into my room through the open window. The moonlight was painting the carpet, bleaching the walls, and reflecting off the giant mirror—all setting the entire room in an eerie glow. Hidden memories of my childhood instantly flashed through my eyes as I rushed to the window. I looked up into midnight sky and saw the familiar faces of my childhood from above.
I quickly pointed out the constellations of Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and Cygnus, as they were my some of my favorite constellations. As I looked onward, I found Cassiopeia, Boötes, Hercules, Scorpius, Lyra, Sagittarius, and Draco.
Not this Draco.
I had so much fun in finding the summer constellations of the Northern Hemisphere that I forgot that it was getting late and that there was no way that I would be able to study. Content with myself, I decided to wing the test and go to bed, hoping that last-minute studying in class tomorrow would help in any way. The next day, I had gotten a B- on the exam. My parents were quite upset and my “friends” shrugged their shoulders, but you could see their smiles behind their frowns. One might think that I was upset, but on the contrary, I was pretty happy—whether it was an “A” or a “B”. Besides, by the end of my freshman year, I had the highest grade in my Biology class and got a 4.2 GPA, why should I fuss about that B-? After that incident with the stars, I realized that was more to life than just studying, that success and happiness did not just result from school. There are other ways to achieve success and happiness through other means. A few days later, I left my group of “friends” and made some new ones instead. I started to go out more and reestablished connections with my family. I had more fun and less stress. I got my life back. I finally did. Thanks to the stars. To my childhood.
We focus way too much on the things that are unnecessary, such as school, social media, and pressures our friends and family put onto us. We should just be letting go and enjoying whatever life occasionally throws at us. Life is simple, only you make it elaborate. If you have trouble in letting go: simply look at the stars. Remember your childhood days.