creating closure: a ted talk

I mean can you consider this blog post late if it didn’t have a deadline? (also featuring some new thoughts at the end)

preface: I will tell the readers what I told those on the zoom call, this wouldn’t be what I would be presenting under regular circumstances. It is, however, what was truest to me at the moment I wrote it and I wanted to leave some genuine thoughts with you guys.

Grade 12. The final act of this play we call high school. I wonder if it should be classified as a comedy or tragedy; it’s definitely not a romance for me but I can’t speak on behalf of the others. *cough* Abhay *cough* It certainly was a memorable one as I got to spend it with some of the most amazing people — including the ones watching this today (and probably those who decide they want to read this). Like all good things, however, it must come to an end. And, according to who you ask, it either has or will come to an end in the next few days. This definitely wasn’t the end I was expecting when I put on my blazer for the first time in August. I mean today — in an alternate reality — I would be studying for my Chemistry diploma. In no world would I have expected to finish electrochem without having at least one breakdown. 

And that’s all thanks to how our world changed so dramatically and adjusting to that was, and still is, hard. As you guys have probably seen, it felt especially hard for the graduating class. These emotions are associated with the fact that we had our end taken away from us — the formulaic and easy-to-process end. This semester, for a lot of us, was the one where we could finally relax with university admissions out of the way and a lot of cores already finished. My semester was chemistry, calculus, gym/leadership, and TA — it was the time I could finally let my brain cool down a bit after the hectic first semester. (although hunni did make me create answer keys to old diploma exams so heads up if you do some of them — I am the exam maker) 

Second semester was all about tying up loose ends. I was supposed to get my grad dress over spring break and start *gently encouraging* the grads to buy banquet tickets with my fellow grad committee members. It was supposed to be a gradual transition to the end of this period of our lives. We knew what the end was and it was comforting. 

Then we didn’t. All of a sudden on Sunday the announcement came that all schools would be closed. I found out when I was in my kitchen getting a snack after finishing a leadership plan for the next day — in the moment, I was happy because I didn’t know the extent of the situation. All I knew was it would be at least a couple of weeks where I could figure out what redox was.  It was those few weeks between going from our regularly scheduled programming to online learning that were the hardest for me because all I could do was think — think about what I would be missing as the reality of the situation loomed over me. How my last moments at school were spent doing a calculus test, how sterile and lifeless the halls were when I went to get my textbooks, how nontraditional this ending was. 

It’s weird cause I  remember last year finding out our graduation day was on a Monday — a lot of us weren’t happy with this. After all, who wants to go to aftergrad on a Monday of all days. Looking back at it now, Monday wouldn’t have been so bad. Being on social media didn’t help alleviate the sense of loss I felt as it just showed the sheer magnitude of how many other students were feeling the same way. It made me wonder: why was graduation so important. I mean there was always time to party and celebrate your achievements before and after — I know we were given the option of waiting it out until the fall. It just didn’t feel the same even if, in the hypothetical, we could get something similar to what we missed. The real important thing graduation provides is a sense of closure. You see closure would have come from walking out of our final diplomas, and then walking across the stage, and spending the night with our class one last time. But we didn’t get that ending and we didn’t know how to process the ending we did get. 

The key difference between endings and closure is that we can’t control how things end but we can control our perceptions of them. Endings, as evidence shows, can be abrupt and startling and completely not what we expected; however, if we let them remain that way, we continue to live in the past and allow events to control us. We need to change our perceptions on what endings should look like and make the choice to adapt our actions and choices to reflect that.

And this, by no means, is limited to world-changing events. It can be applied to everyday situations. Don’t overthink your conversations or actions when things don’t end up going the way you expected. Key word: overthink. Yes, it can be useful to look at the results of what you said or did and improve for the future; but it can also bring up the constant sensation of regret and a flow of “what if” questions that won’t make you feel better about your situation but, in fact, worse. You need to accept what happened and move forward as the best version of yourself — it is closure in the form of the acceptance of your flaws and faults. And don’t let the past dictate the entirety of your future. If friendships fizzle out, don’t let that be the reason you don’t open yourself up to others. I know it is easy to see an end of a friendship as something you did wrong, but sometimes people just don’t work together and it gives you the opportunity for something new. Let it be a closed chapter to reflect on rather than something you constantly go back and try to edit when you could be moving on to another part of your book. 

Closure is by no means an easy feeling to reach. But it’s important to remember that life is a series of moments, and when you dwell on one you can’t appreciate the others. It’s hard when it comes to dealing with big moments in life or significant people; however, we can’t reach those next big moments or people when we continue to think about what could have been. Closure entails the acceptance of the fact that life can suck and we can’t always get our way. But the choice to work to the point of closure will give you the biggest reward of all: freedom. I can’t begin to explain how much easier this has been after accepting our current situation. I know I won’t have the same videos of me walking across the stage as years before me, but how interesting will the stories be in the future. With the right hyperboles, you could truly convince your kids (or other young humans) of your determination and dedication to the important things in life — I mean every generation of parents needs a story to get their kids in line and I think a global pandemic qualifies. 

So my words of “wisdom” are this: pursue closure, however that may come for you. If you need to text someone to ask what you did wrong, do it. If you need to write out your feelings to get them out, do it. If you need to take time for yourself to reflect and decide how to approach the future, do it. You don’t know how things will end because you can’t control every part of life; you can, however, control your reactions and guide them to helping you attain a sense of closure rather than regret. A life of regrets and what ifs is not one worth living and I know you guys deserve the life you want to live. The world only ends if you let it (unless the sun implodes, which is a separate matter in itself); so approach each day with positivity and a willingness to grow from all the challenges you face. Closure is crucial if you want to look to the future rather than live in the past judging yourself based on your mistakes. 

So to end, I want to explain what closure looks like for me right now. Closure is being able to spend time with my friends as graduates with our caps and gowns on Friday. Closure is being able to say a farewell and thank you to my teachers. Closure is being able to share this Ted Talk here today. AP English has been an incredibly important part of my high school experience and I am so grateful for each and every person who has been a part of this program. Be it the years past who have left behind a beautiful legacy and writing or the future students (including the 9s and 10s I didn’t get to work with personally) who have already created, and will create, amazing blog posts that I will continue to look forward to. And remember closure doesn’t always entail a final goodbye. Know that this AP class is really like a family and that if you ever need help or support you can get in touch because I know I could definitely use the feeling of being useful going into the trenches of freshman year. 

Thank you all for helping me reach this point of closure in my life — the amazing memories I got with all of you make me grateful for everything I did get to experience and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. 

 


 

Hi guys, it’s now August 12th as I finally get around to posting this Ted Talk. University is right around the corner and it’s scary, but I am excited. I am so happy to have been able to spend time with the teachers and my friends on the Grad Day because getting those pictures in our caps and gowns (while social distancing of course) will forever be special to me. I didn’t end up crying on that day (contrary to what I had expected) which was nice because I put a lot of effort into my makeup. This pandemic taught me that every moment should be considered special and that you don’t need certain clothes or events to be happy; not crying was a happy occasion because it signified (to me at least) how I was really growing up. And y’all know I really needed a case of growing up with my emotions. LOL

I hope that this year goes well (and all years in that case) for everyone as we continue to exist in this weird reality. Stay safe and find happiness wherever you can.

Love you all,

nimrat xx

p.s. I’m doing a starry night puzzle right now and it is so hard every piece looks the same.

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