No Longer Terrified, Ready


Photo contributed by Cortney Wood

“I never once thought that despite all the sadness that surrounds someone, it could inspire such happiness. I knew it existed and it happened to people, but I didn’t think it would happen to me (as cliché as that sounds). I’m excited to start at Midwestern and I feel so blessed by all of the support I have gotten from my people. Thank you for everyone that had a hand in my life up until this point, the teachers, my friends, the people I interviewed, everyone. It’s a bittersweet goodbye, but one I’m okay making now.”

The countdown is on. Only a handful of days linger until the final bell rings on May 27 and I am finished with high school forever, and I’m finally okay saying I am a senior and I am ready to graduate.

It took a lot for me to sit down and actually write my first column that was in the January/February issue, and sitting down to write this now was like pulling teeth. But it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the end of high school and I’m actually comfortable(ish) with saying that. Since my last column everything in my life has kind of been turned upside down. My parents have separated, my mom and I had to move in with my sister and her husband along with their four kids, and now we are moving again into our own house. I went from a life with little change to a life with little constants, and honestly, I feel like it was the best thing for me.

When I started this year, I focused solely on the what if’s this year brought and forgot that they are what propel life. Entirely consumed with worry and fear at what the next step would bring, I forgot how to live. Life isn’t measured in the check marks on the list you’ve made (although those check marks are wonderfully satisfying), it’s actually taking a leap of faith and just experiencing what comes your way. After letting go of the anxiety I put on myself, I was able to step back and breathe, and I immediately saw a shift in myself. For the first time in the last two years, I feel like I am actually enjoying life.

My friends and I have gotten closer, I’m practically at my church 24/7 and the organizations I’m involved with have filled me with love. My life has broken apart this year, but in the process I got to piece back together the Cortney I want to see from here on out.

Rider media has taught me a few things: 1. Never doubt the staff’s ability to crack you up, ever. 2. Newspaper will get you into the weirdest situations most normal high schoolers won’t ever have to worry about. 3. I love the craziness that comes with the newsroom.

Although I’ve been with Rider softball my entire high school career, this year has made me feel at home. Each girl made me laugh every single game and the out of town snack bags personalized to a T by Mrs. Paulette were the sweetest things ever.

After freaking out like I did about senior year, now I just think of how silly I was being. Life moves on as it always has and it’s nothing to freak over. As scary as the initial step is into the unknown, motion fuels life. Don’t live stagnantly wishing to go back. Instead embrace the uniqueness each moment offers because it’s only there for a fraction of a second in the grand scheme of things.