Seventeen years of consistency come to an end

Anna Cornell '20, Staff Writer

For the past 17 years of life, few things changed. For 17 years I have lived in the same city, despite the change of location in fifth grade (my family simply moved from one part of Grosse Pointe to another). For 17 years I have been, at most, five minutes away from my aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. My life has been extremely consistent for 17 years with the activities I took part in and the people I spend time with.
Now, for the first time, change will be the only consistent thing in my life.
I’ve always loved the water. Even before I could talk, I’d jump into a pool, regardless if there was someone to catch me. At the age of five, I joined my first of many swim teams. 12 years later, hundreds of races, countless disqualifications, personal records mixed with a fair share of failures and a stint at physical therapy, swimming is no longer part of my life. At 17, I finally decided to hang up the suit and put away the towel. I retired.
I met my best friend in first grade, after walking up to her and asking if she wanted to be friends. We have been inseparable since. In eighth grade, I met another of my best friends, we survived an eccentric science teacher and have been close since. Sophomore year, a New Jersey girl joined the swim team, we became lane buddies, and then wrote a parody of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” before time trials, and we’ve been best friends since. At 17, my best friends and I have been apart for the first time, now separated because of the pandemic, but in a few months separated by state lines, as no one will be attending the same college as one another.
Driving is one of the things I eagerly await to change at 17. I have never liked being behind the steering wheel, never thought cars were fascinating, nor felt impatient to obtain my license. When I was 14, before I had my permit, my father believed the best way for me to conquer my hesitation of being on the road was to be behind the steering wheel. The lesson was an utter failure, as the car ended up in the middle of someone’s lawn instead of the intended location of the driveway (the gas pedal seemed to have shifted into the brake pedal). Thankfully, at 17, I have switched the keys out for a Metro Pass, and cannot wait to not drive for (at least) the next four years.
Learning how to read a map is another change that should have happened already– thankfully, moving to a big city will force me to know the importance of cardinal signals. 17 years of living in a semi-small town, I never needed directions to go places; I remembered places and associated those with my turns. Going to swim practice, I knew to turn right at Ram’s Horn, but I have no clue what the name of the street Ram’s Horn is on. To get to my cousin’s house when I was younger, I would count six streets then enter the driveway of the yellow house. At 17, I will have to start paying attention to where I’m going.
For 17 years I have lived, laughed and loved my life in Grosse Pointe. For 17 years the water and swim played a huge part of my life, and, unfortunately, at times in elementary and middle school, were my only personality traits. For 17 years, I grew familiar and comfortable with the lack of distance between me and my loved ones– friends were only a bike ride away. At 17, most of the things in my life that were always constant have completely changed. At first, the change was overwhelming, but once I was able to process everything, I realized that the change was not something that would ruin the life I have known for 17 years. It is an opportunity to build upon the foundation the past 17 years has provided.