Connect the dots

August 26, 2021 5:12 PM

a crown icon and the words "rising voices award winner"
Painting on the side of a building. Photo courtesy of Maria Bobrova on Unsplash.

Painting on the side of a building. Photo courtesy of Maria Bobrova on Unsplash.

I picked up my first anime when my friends were talking about a series and I was looking to get into it at the time, so I decided to get home and watch it that day. I had already peeked at series such as “Dragon Ball” but only when it came on after a long day of Cartoon Network and after the Adult Swim intros. This was a show called “Naruto,” which is still one of my favorite series today. It’s about a kid fighting to become Hokage. He struggles to be accepted by his community at the start of the series due to being different from everybody else, but he trains to become a leader with the help of his friends. The show would also lead me down the path of anime. After school, I would get home every day and drop down on the couch to watch countless episodes. The show had many themes having to do with family, friends, etc. Watching this show was so addicting for me because it was something I was interested in. It was interesting to watch the main character and those beside him develop over time. He grows as a character, helping those around him, becoming a more important part of his community, and achieving many of his goals. The show put out many themes in the different arcs, keeping me even more interested in the series. There were no other things I would do besides school, and I was just watching the show on Netflix at first to kick back and get some entertainment. “Naruto” had also just been added to Netflix at the time, and I never had my own console, so this was the only thing I was truly enjoying.

Shortly after eighth-grade graduation. I had gone through a rough year and started making plans for a good transition to high school. I started to hear more about how things are going to be different in terms of my future. There were going to be a lot of opportunities to seize and a lot more work that needed to be done. It was important to keep good grades for college and work hard for life after high school. I took it as a reminder that things may become more stressful. I would slowly lose interest in things such as video games, anime, and anything else I enjoyed. I think a big reason why was because I was stuck doing homework and other activities, so I didn’t have the time or energy for them anymore. I would still be able to watch some anime at points when I had the time, but it wasn’t the same as my stress-free life before. 

While in the ninth grade, I was getting tons of homework and trying my best to keep good grades and put out good work. College was a topic I would begin to hear about frequently. Eventually, the coronavirus hit and I was able to finish the school year off strong. Because I was online for the remainder of the grade, classes ended earlier than before and I once again had a lot of time. After summer had passed, it was going to be another online session for my sophomore year. I did well the previous year so I wasn’t stressing too much. I was already back into the things I enjoyed, and I spent a lot of time watching various animes and playing many games. 

A few months had passed by and I was putting out great work. I was working hard on my classes, and my interests in these other hobbies started to falter once again. At this point, I started joining many programs and afterschool programs so my schedule was full. I was doing a lot of college readiness programs, community service programs, and a few more throughout the week. I remember one day after mountains of homework, I decided to try and relax a little. I tried to play a game and I couldn’t even get past the loading screen. It’s almost as if a game I had played for years got boring. I tried to picture playing it while on the loading screen, but I knew I’d just be bored so I turned my console off. I then went to watch an episode of an anime but I got bored five minutes in. It just wasn’t hitting the same, so I decided to just leave it for another day. 

I think this happened because I started to have a different mindset about things, which makes it harder for me to relax or enjoy the things I used to enjoy. At first, I felt confused and frustrated because things that I enjoyed were now part of the past. Then I realized the best thing was to let things go and just move on. I’m still working on new hobbies, and so far I’ve been okay with leaving the past behind. I’m just looking forward to doing good in the future.   

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