Being Silly Means Being Happy

Being Silly Means Being Happy

Be unapologetically yourself.
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Hi, my name is Maren and whenever I go to Panera Bread, I almost always order a PB&J sandwich from the kids' menu. Last night, I went to dinner with an old friend and she laughed when I ordered my usual. She thought I couldn't be serious -- ordering from the kids' menu when I'm 20-years-old. She later told me, "Maren, you're so silly, but that means you'll always be happy."

And that struck a chord with me.

Maybe it is because I hold onto my inner youth so tightly and refuse to let it go, but I think being silly also has something to do with being vulnerable. Being able to laugh at yourself is equal to unapologetically being yourself. We live in a world where we simultaneously desire to be our own person and fear the judgement of others based on being an individual. But in reality, people do not really care that you wore the same outfit two days in a row, that you fell up the stairs or whatever else you did that you thought was so embarrassing.

Until my junior year of high school, I was always so concerned about what other people thought of me or what I did. When I stopped seeking validation from people who were not my friends and who truly did not care what I did, then I started being unapologetically myself. I joined the cheer team, made new friends and floated between the theater kids and the athletic kids. That year, I started to embrace my weird, quiet and somewhat athletic demeanor -- I was unapologetically myself.

I do not really know what happened junior year of high school except that I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

Being soft, gentle and warm is a different kind of radical. The ability to allow yourself to be vulnerable is very powerful.

Today, scream-singing the opening song of "Star Wars" in my dorm or laughing at myself after doing something embarrassing seems like second nature.

Freshmen year, my very first friends and I used to do this toe touch thing where you reach your hand down to your foot and say "toe touch." It is so weird and I have no idea where it came from, but it is something that bonded us together. One time, I managed to fall over trying to do this toe touch. My friends broke out in laughter and once I brushed myself off, I couldn't help but laugh with them.

Feel free to be unapologetically yourself and remember that you can be silly! Whether you are ordering a PB&J sandwich from the kid's menu at Panera Bread, scream-singing "Star Wars" or making numerous "Spongebob" references, you will be silly and you will be happy.

Cover Image Credit: Zoe's photo

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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10 Life Lessons I Learned from 'How I Met Your Mother'

This article is going to be legen - wait for it - dary!

bethkrat
bethkrat
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In defense of one of my absolute favorite shows of all time, I took quite a bit of good advice away from the incredible cast of characters and wanted to share it. Though it's hard to narrow it down, here's my list of the top ten things I learned from 'How I Met Your Mother':

1. Never settle for less than you deserve

Ted spent a long time searching for his soulmate (9 seasons worth of time, to be exact), and ultimately wasn't willing to settle for less than he deserved. (News flash, neither should you!)

Sure, no one is absolutely perfect and we should not, by any means, search for the perfect complement to ourselves, however in partners and in life in general we should have enough love for ourselves not to accept anything other than what we deserve.

You're incredible, so don't settle on someone or something that isn't as lovely as you!

2. Take a deep breath and slow down

Season 1 Ted and Season 2 Ted are seemingly completely different people (now that's what we call character development!). That's because he goes from overly zealous about fulfilling his idea of the perfect life within his set timeline to realizing that the best way to live is to stop, smell the roses, and content ourselves with the knowledge that we can't force life to happen - sometimes it has to happen in its own time.

Lily nailed it when she said; "You can't design your life like a building. It doesn't work that way. You just have to live it . . . and it'll design itself."

3. Let that sh*t go 

Ted's great advice once was; "You may think your only choices are to swallow your anger or throw it in someone's face, but there's a third option: You can just let it go, and only when you do that is it really gone and you can move forward."

It is so easy to harbor exhausting feelings of anger, vengefulness, and frustration over certain situations and it ends up draining the absolute life out of you when you allow it to take over your thoughts and feelings. When we learn how to let go of that anger, we can start to live our lives more fully by focusing our energy on better things.

4. It's okay to feel lost sometimes

Barney came to a point in the show where he felt like he was in a hedge maze of confusion and frustration over not knowing what he wanted out of life, and if I've learned anything from this, it's that sometimes it can be nice to be lost. Sure, it may seem scary and daunting, but ultimately we have to buckle up and keep searching for our path. It can be fun trying to discover yourself and what you want out of life, taking time to take risks and experiment with yourself until you find what you're looking for. Don't sweat it if you don't have it all figured out.

5. Change isn't as scary as it sounds

As human beings, I think most of us love the feeling of familiarity, which is why when life arounds us begins to change, we start to feel a little overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Robin was a major conveyor of the necessity of being fearless in the face of the change that comes with the passing of time; sometimes change is for the best whether we recognize that fact or not, and we shouldn't let the fear of unfamiliarity scare us into running away from it.

6. Mistakes are scary; make them anyway

Lily so often made decisions that made many of us want to cover our eyes and scream at her, but if she hadn't made some of those decisions, she never would have known whether or not they were mistakes at all. That's how we have to look at our own lives: if we allow ourselves to be scared out of doing certain things for fear that they will be mistakes, how are we to know whether we would regret it? Wouldn't you regret more not knowing how it would have turned out at all? After all, mistakes are just life lessons. So educate yourself and make them!

7. Finding your people Is pure magic

Perhaps one of the most iconic pieces of HIMYM is the incredible friend group that the show focuses around; they go through so much together in the 9 seasons the show ran for, and it makes you realize how special it can be when you find people that help make your life exciting, fulfilled, and beautiful like these beloved characters made each other's lives. Sometimes it can take a while, but if we have patience, are true to ourselves, and remain open to what life throws at us, our people will find us and when they do, they'll make us so much better.

8. The ripple effect is real af

It can be hard to see how small actions and choices we make have a large scale effect on our lives, but after watching HIMYM, it becomes sort of hard not to at least think about how possible it is for the butterfly effect to be real. I made the decision to study abroad in London instead of the other 3 places I was considering this semester, and because of that small decision, I ended up making some of the best friends I could have asked for along the way. If I hadn't made that decision, these people never would have been in my life today. Our decisions now have the power to change our lives later on, which is both terrifying and thrilling all at once.

9. Love is hard work, but so worth the effort

Relationships are anything but easy. They take compromise, communication, honesty, and empathy to make them work, and that's only a few of the requirements. But if HIMYM has taught me anything, it's that when you find the right person, all of that effort is completely worth it. It's not always rainbows and butterflies, but the rainy skies are worthwhile to see all those pretty colors at the end of it all.

10. Nothing good happens after 2 am 

Perhaps one of the most major life lessons HIMYM taught me was that no good decisions happen at such a late hour. If you're thinking about sending that risky text, meeting someone after a late night invite, being out that early in the morning, or whatever the case may be, maybe you should reconsider. Sure, we're promoting making mistakes for the sake of the learning experience, but sometimes you have to pick your battles and know these kinds of mistakes might not be worth the risk.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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