Maneuvering through the waiting period

More stories from Abby Berlin



I sit in class, eyeing the tick of the clock. The echoes of its passing taunt me and my apathetic mind. I try to cast my urgency on to the hands and will them to increase speed. I watch until it dwindles down to the next hour. 


I bounce my leg up and down expectantly, hoping to occupy myself. There are many ways you could describe my mind if you took a long glance: burned-out, unmotivated, blank. The replication of every day gnaws at my curiosity. I anticipate the echo of the bell—for it signifying my dismissal.


I lounge in my room quiescently until I hear the call for dinner. I cannot travel anywhere else unless it is ventured on foot. The winter cold encapsulates me in a prison of boredom. I am teased with promises of future endeavors; it’s like waving a treat in front of a dog but refusing to reward him. 


So why do I feel like my teenage years are the waiting room for actually living?

I lay in bed glaring towards my ceiling. My week plays back to me like a record on loop—every day identical. I eat the same food, learn the same lessons, and watch the same shows. I envision floating into sleep—traveling to a faraway place where routine is nonexistent.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

We are told repeatedly throughout our youth to cherish our teenage years. We’re told that it is the most entertaining and voracious time in life: a time filled with self-discovery, rebellion, and no worries. These were the times as a kid that we were infatuated with.

So why do I feel like my teenage years are the waiting room for actually living?

I feel as if I am caught between two stones. My youth, filled with wonderment and awe, promises a route with more captivation but less self-subsisting. I crave the days spent splashing around in sprinklers and learning how to draw tally marks; they’re now substituted with tanning and finding the value of x. 

My childhood is filled with many sentimental aspects: learning how to swim, skiing for the first time, baking cookies for Santa with my mom, and many more. However, I am now at a point of growth. I can swim without help; I ride down “the big kid hills”; I’m allowed to use the oven by myself. I sometimes desire the simplicity of life reliant on other people, but it has grown fatigued with routine. This once comforting prosaic now mocks my concerns of change.

In light of these realizations, I have found myself sitting patiently in a waiting room, my leg mimicking it’s animated ups and downs from class. I linger around the lobby until my name is called into adulthood. 

Yet, my acquiescent anticipation has been met with silence, only broken by the ticking of the clock. I turn to leave, in an attempt to escape the contemplation, and am instead met with a locked door. I am bonded into a new routine, one just as mind-numbing as the last. There is no other option but to sit and self-contemplate.

I am found waiting once more.