Interstitial Time

Adults focused on their careers and long running projects know the feeling of returning to square zero. They know what it's like to work hard for some time all the while feeling like they're progressing until one day a blip makes them feel like they haven't progressed at all. In fact they've regressed because the clock has grown even shorter.

But how can a kid who wasn't even 13 feel such a way? 

The big change of Middle school was that my world suddenly got larger. Instead of being with one class of around 20 or so kids all day, I walked to five classes in five different classrooms each day. Each class came with its own norms, its own top dogs, and its own losers. After years of grade school I had finally gotten used to figuring out the environment each school year and carving out some type of comfortable niche. Once the reality of middle school hit, I wondered how I would ever find my niche now that there were five classes and with a schedule that changed every three months. 

Honestly if school only happened in the classroom I could've gone through all three years of middle school as a ghost. It's not hard to tune out the rest of the students and just focus on the teacher... or even tune them out and daydream. 

Even though most of our school hours happened in classrooms, the moments I looked forward to and the moments that stained my memories happened elsewhere. At lunch... at recess... between classes in the hallway by the lockers... the school bus... waiting for the bus.... the list is endless because there were countless examples of these interstitial periods. Times when there was nothing any adult was forcing us to focus on. Times when we kids had the reigns.  

It was within these times that being a ghost wasn't possible for me. When there was no lecture that the class was converging on and I was in the middle of a zoo of kids doing their own things, I couldn't stand just sitting there without a role to play. It wasn't until the end of my first year at middle school when I definitively decided that I was going to change that.