The Transformation of Almost

The Transformation of Almost by Sari Bircoll - Photo by Avrah Ross

For many years, “almost” has been my least favorite word. To me, “almost” represents everything that could have been. “Almost” reminds me of failed attempts and missed opportunities. My hatred for the word “almost” developed upon hearing a spoken-word poem titled simply “Almosts.” The poem reminded me of the horrific nature that is the word “almost.” The poet explains that the word represents the human tendency to come so close to succeeding, but ultimately fail. Ever since I first listened to the poem, I have worked tirelessly to avoid any almosts.

Oddly enough, “almost” is the word that I would use to describe myself today. For the first time in a long time, though, almost does not make me cringe. I am a second-semester senior in high school and the whole world is a giant almost. I am only a few short months from graduating high school. In December, I earned admission to my dream college, Washington University in St. Louis. Everything I have ever wanted is almost here. I have not failed; I have not lost; I have not wasted. I am almost there.

Every now and again, my mom and I sit down to discuss the status of my life. Recently, during one of our talks, she reminded me that I can do anything I want. Between my recent acceptance and my fast-approaching graduation, I am starting to believe her. Everything is a process, and I think I am almost done with this one. My goal at the end, of course, is to be almost as amazing as she is.

My pending completions do not always bring a smile to my face, though. While the time for me to conquer the rest of the world is fast approaching, so is the time for me to say goodbyes. It is almost time for me to leave behind my friends, my family, and the familiarity of home to move to a completely unfamiliar place. I think that I will eventually prepare myself for this one, since I do not really have a choice, but right now I am nowhere near almost ready.

Over the course of the last few months, my life has transformed into a series of almosts––I am almost there, almost at the finish line. Most of these almosts have me staring down clocks and tearing apart calendars waiting for their arrivals. Beyond what is coming, though, these almosts have given me a gift in the moments I am in now. Every almost that I can see, everything that is so close, reminds me that, even though I am almost there, I also get to be here. And here is much more than almost as good as there.

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