20 years ago I was a junior in high school. Memorable but not in a good way. One of life’s pivot’s for sure but at that age when isn’t change bigger than what it really is. I was in Staten Island, Wagner High School to exact.

My world was small living out there. It was the island and that’s about it. There was a great big world off the bridge and ferry but my insular bubble didn’t really pay it much mind.

For being a teenager with unlimited potential, I had a very limited perspective and it’s not until now that I come to terms with that missed opportunity to expand my world.

Granted, times were different back then. There was no Facebook or Twitter. If you lost the 35mm roll then your pictures were forever gone.

My opinions on technology were limited to War Games and video games. I rocked it at Super Mario Cart.

My sister was also turning one and I did not need MTV to show how hard it was to raise a child as a young single mom.

Now here I am, watching the snow fall and trying to make sense of this bipolar spell I’m going through. Having made a mad dash to Staten Island at 5:30am to track down some rock salt for the impeding snow storm, I found myself cruising through some of my old stomping grounds.

It was dawn and I felt a sense of calmness among my anxiety. I didn’t want to get into a car accident or risk getting a flat tire. Yet I was driving against the clock since there were no other places to get rock salt, at least none within a 50 mile radius of Roselle NJ. I had spent several days prior trying to secure some, to no avail.

Driving down Father Capodanno Boulevard, the area having undergone some major reconstruction post-Sandy, still has the same aura from when I was in elementary school. Now I get to reminisce each week with VH1’s Mob Wives, a show that I’m drawn to for several reasons, one being that it feels the most familiar.

The more things change the more they stay the same. As I look around and see everyone else moving forward in their lives, I can’t help but wonder when do I get to move on up to the East Side? It doesn’t even have to be a deluxe apartment in the sky. I’ll settle for a rent-controlled abode off the beach.

A trip down memory lane got me craving that sense of familiarity, along with a healthy dose of freedom. I am eligible for parole from the mental prison I confined myself to, yet somehow I keep failing to quality. I keep failing to get approved.

Eligible only means you have the potential and that’s something I know all too well: unused potential.