If any of you were lucky enough to play computer games while in elementary school (yes, they did exist during the late 90's), then most likely you have heard of the game ("Available on CD-ROM!") called "The Oregon Trail".
I recall spending hours immersed in a digitally limited landscape of role-play entertainment, and it was hard work! I had to save my family members from dysentery, cross rivers, and hunt for our dinners. That's a lot of pressure for a child's first introduction to a video game.
In any case, I finally made the journey out to Oregon (albeit, it did not involve hunting or dysentery). Instead it involved 12+ hours of driving each day, covering the lush landscape that the state has to offer.
If you're the slight bit interested in the route, it went something like this:
Portland-->Mt Hood-->Bend-->La Pine-->Crater Lake-->Salem-->Portland
And along the way, I was taken away on a visual journey that could never be replicated by "The Oregon Trail" even if remade with virtual reality. Waterfalls cascaded down cliffs like white streamers, rivers ran by the roads gushing with fresh water, and lakes served as giant mirrors, reflecting the forest-green hills and deep blue sky.
I felt happy. What a simple yet rarely used statement. I've gone through a sort of "attitude adjustment" if you will. The past few months have been difficult emotionally, and for no specific reason at all. I've just been hard on myself and somehow managed to become more so of a pessimist.
All of the anxiety and self-deprecation peaked at an event that was meant to be monumental for my brother. Selfishly, I unknowingly stole the glowing spotlight, put a dark grey filter on it and turned it towards myself. I still feel guilty for bringing up self-imposed problems at a time when I was supposed to be proud of my brother's accomplishments.
After slowly consoling myself day by day and really forcing myself to adjust my tendency to be negative, I shifted my outlook from South to North...literally. The trip up to Oregon and being surrounded by a group of people who were simply enjoying the present made me change the filter that was previously dampening my outlook.
The sky seemed bluer that weekend, and not just because the air was actually cleaner (although that helped a bit).
I sometimes long for those days to where my only worry was how I would win "The Oregon Trail" after school...but then again, who's stopping me from adopting that attitude from time to time?