Enjoy Life While You Still Can

Enjoy Your Youth While You Still Can

So, while everyone was busy living their life and enjoying their youth, I was the one who wanted to grow up quickly to avoid all of the nonsense.


For as long as I can remember, I've always been more mature for my age than others were. This isn't necessarily a bad thing until I forgot to enjoy being a kid. I was always the kid who kept you in check, who was bossy, who was no fun because she was too uptight. I was the kid who always felt out of place because her mind was more mature than her age let her be. I grew up fast because I wanted to. All I looked forward to as a kid was growing up and being independent, doing whatever it was that I wanted to do and to live amongst others who were just as mature as I was.

I was everyone's 'mom' as a child. Even in parent-teacher conferences, the teachers would tell my parents that I would "one day be a good mom" because of my "leadership" skills. They basically told my parents I was bossy and that I needed to let kids learn things for themselves. But as a kid, I didn't want my friends to have to learn the hard way. I wanted to prevent them from trouble. I wanted them to see what I saw and to know that the choices they made sometimes weren't the best ones. So, while everyone was busy living their life and enjoying their youth, I was the one who wanted to grow up quickly to avoid all of the nonsense.

I was the goody-two-shoes. I did most things the right way, got good grades, achieved goals, and wouldn't stop until I got to where I wanted. In some ways, this benefited me. And in other ways, it came back to bite me. Because I wasn't like most kids, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was made fun of, ostracized, and my lonesomeness advanced my maturity even more. If no one was going to be there for me, I had to learn to be there for myself. So, I became more mature.

Seeing it for what it is now, I realized I grew up too fast. I am growing up too fast. What I wish for my past self is for her to take it slow. I want her to enjoy things for what they are. I want her to know that she doesn't have to worry all the time, that she doesn't have to be so serious. I want her to know that she needs to take time for herself and enjoy life while she still can.
I cannot stress this enough – be young, don't stress so heavily on the future, and don't forget to enjoy life. After I graduated high school, I realized how fast life really does go. It has never moved this fast before and each year goes by faster and faster. I didn't listen to my elders when they said, "enjoy life while you still can."

And as I write this, I'm emotional. I'm emotional because I've thrown away many years of my life because I was focused on one thing and one thing only—college and a career. Sure, those are very important in setting up your life and helping you get a job, but it isn't the only important thing. You're important too. Because I was solely focused on college and career the entirety of my life, I forgot to do things for myself. I forgot to take care of my body. But more importantly, I forgot to take care of my mind. I've been so focused on feeling the need to achieve something, that I didn't remember to enjoy my summers instead of working. I was too busy taking life too seriously. I neglected the fact that I only have this one life to live and it can be taken away in a split second.

So, to whoever is reading this, I beg of you, no matter how old you are or how long you've forgotten to take care of yourself, please begin to enjoy life. Start now.

Although I was set to graduate from college early next year, I decided to stay my full senior year to take advantage of my youth and to take fewer credits each term to give my myself a break. All I've ever done in college was overwork myself, and it's time for a change. It's time for me to start thinking about me. It's time for me to take care of Ruby, to take care of her anxiety, her mind, her youth, her desires, her life.

So please, enjoy life for what it is. It's not always easy, but if you start really, truly taking advantage of your life and enjoying it, at least when you're older, you can say you've done everything you've ever wanted to do. As they say, you only regret the chances you didn't take!

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.


In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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