You know that feeling when your heart sort of tingles?
When you just can’t help but smile a little bit, look down at your feet, and shake your head because maybe, just maybe this life is a good one?
Do you ever have the days that the sun seems to shine a bit brighter on the sidewalk you’re taking across campus, when your headphones are playing just the right song, and when you feel like there’s a little bit extra skip in your step?
It’s when you feel like the world is at your fingertips, like maybe for the very first time in your life, there is not a thing holding you back.
I think it’s the realization that life is short.
When you begin to feel the moments start to go by faster and the nostalgia set in on memories that you feel like you made yesterday. There is a bittersweet realization that has come to me recently. It is purpose, I think, or possibly a glimpse of hope rising up, or maybe just understanding.
But I can tell you one thing, I get it. I get the Pinterest quotes that say that you should live each moment, that you should be nice to people anyways. I get it when they say that you need to live each day like it is your last, and when an opportunity comes your way not to let it slip through your fingers.
Rather, make it count. Pay it forward. Be loud and be passionate. Break the silence about things that you believe in. Believe in things. Believe in yourself. Find your voice.
You will find as time goes on, that your voice is powerful. Use it for more than yelling at your siblings, talking back to your parents, gossiping with your best friends, or answering your teacher.
Use it to speak boldly to the world, to share your experiences with your little siblings, to learn from your parents, to grow closer to your best friends, or to ask more questions to your teacher.
Seek to understand the world. Be curious, adventurous. Ask the questions you want to know the answer to. Ask the questions that you already know the answer to, because chances are, someone else knows more.
Question the way the world works and work to make it a better place. Work for the future, for change and a brighter tomorrow. Be selfless because you won’t always get paid in money but rather smiles. They make you feel better anyways.
Stay humble. Imprint your name on someone’s thoughts, not on a trophy. Leave your mark on hearts, not on plaques. Change the way someone thinks about something you think strongly about because it will start a chain reaction.
I firmly believe that changing one person’s life changes the world, and you really never know what it will take to change a person’s life. It could be as easy as a smile that keeps them around another day, or the tip you left your waitress that was the last dollar she needed to pay her rent so she can live under a roof another month. Be nice to people. Hold the door. Talk to the cashier. Connect with them. You are not entitled to anything, and no one person is worth any less than you are. If you are lucky enough to eat at a restaurant, be polite to the waiter. If you have to call customer service, be patient because they don’t make the rules. Treat a CEO with the same respect as your hall janitor. Make conversation with people. Compliment strangers, build them up: it can do no harm.
Heck, be nice to the people who aren't nice to you, they need it the most. Can you imagine how many problems would be solved in the world if we talked to people instead of about people?
Listen to what someone says when you ask them a question. Ask them how they are, and mean it. If a friend asks you to pray for them, follow through with it. If they seem to be having a bad day, ask if there is anything you can do to help, and then do it. You have time somewhere in your schedule, I promise. You are never too busy to step back and remember the bigger picture and what really matters.
Be in the moment. Be where you are. Don’t wish you were somewhere else. To someone in that room, this could be their recharge for the day. If you’re in class, pay attention. Listen and learn. Someone spent a lot of time preparing for that class, so make it worth every penny.
Remember that education is an opportunity that very few people have access to, especially college. You are one of 1.3 percent of the world that gets to learn at this level. Don’t brush it off. Make smart decisions and use your time wisely. You’ll never be in an environment that has all this to offer ever again.
Remember to take time for yourself, though. Remember that amidst all this, you have one life. You can be scared and be down, but do it anyways.
And amidst it all, remember this analogy I heard:
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. They then proceed to ask you why you spilled your coffee, and you respond that it was because they bumped into you.
Wrong. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.
Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It's easy to fake it until you get rattled. So, we have to ask ourselves: “what's in my cup?" When life gets tough, what spills over?
It’s starting to make much more sense now. Life is so much more than the classes; its what we gain from the classes. Life is not the days, it is what we make of them; it is not the moments, but the joy we find in them.
When someone bumps into you, work to make sure that goodness, kindness, service, enthusiasm, empowerment, empathy, and authenticity spill over the rim.
We can each change the world, I promise you. It is inside of you. You have to find it. Make your mark, feel the skip in your step, the sun on your skin, the world at your finger tips, and then go grab it.