Coquitlam is my home, and my protective sanctuary when the world seems harsh and callous. It is here that I learned my most important lessons, and it is here that I met so many inspirational people that forever changed me as a person. However, as I look toward my future, I know that in a few years I will have to leave and discover more than this place I've known for so long.
I have lived in the same house since I was born, something that is extremely rare to many people. The room I sleep in now is the same one I was brought into as an infant. My kitchen wall is covered with height measurements of my siblings and myself. The light outside my street reassures me that everything will be OK, even when it feels like all the answers are slipping out of my grasp. For me, these things make Coquitlam home, and I know that regardless of where I go in the world, one day I'll return here.
My 18th birthday was a week ago, and although I didn't feel any different at the time, I know that soon everything will change. Although it is scary to leave the place we've known forever, I think we have to, to realize where we belong and who we are. I used to fear any sort of change, but standing here against the changing waters I know that change is one of the most important aspects of life, and without it life has no meaning.
As much as I feel safe here, I am not content to stay here forever knowing that there is so much more I have to see. University is the first step for me in discovering what else there is in the world.
High school was an important time, but as I crossed the stage at graduation two weeks ago I realized that it felt right to leave. I appreciate all that it brought me; however, I am also aware that there is nothing more it could offer at this stage in my life. I met my best friends in high school, people that will stay with my for the rest of my life, and in high school unique experiences taught me how to put life into different perspectives.
I will never forsake my time at Pinetree, but I feel free now. I am finally free to decide my own future without holding myself back for anyone else.
I do not know if writing will be a part of my career, even though I always thought it would. However, I do know that I will write for the rest of my life no matter what I choose to do because it is who I am. If you read my columns throughout the year, I truly thank you for considering what I had to say. Finding inspiration is not always easy, but sometimes it can be found in the most unlikely of places.
So, now I no longer fear the changes that come into my life, for I know that many of them are blessings, even if they do not seem that way at first.
Sometimes you can find the best gifts in life simply by accident, and in my experience those are the things you can never let slip out of your hands.
Jana Nickason is a recent graduate of Pinetree Secondary. This is the last My Generation column of the school year. The column will resume next fall. If you're interested in applying to be a My Generation columnist, watch for ads in The NOW in September.