As classes come to a close and I lay in bed getting lost in my thoughts, I can't help but be content as I let my mind wander. For much of my life, the idea of letting my mind get the best of me was terrifying, an immediate death wish. Delving into the dusk of existential dread and those pesky demons was a living nightmare and one I couldn't foresee an escape route.

Only now many moons and moods later am I able to allow myself to get ahead of myself without a sense of fear.

Wrapping up my junior year as it is for I'm sure many like myself a harrowing task within itself. In fact, I may even say it is the best year of college. Though it is not short of the mental breakdowns and early sunrises that await you after a hard night of work, I feel it's a very humbling time. It's one that only after completion forces you to reflect on where you've been and where you're headed next year aka the big one.

It brings me back to my junior year in high school. The two share their similarities of grueling work, never enough time to get it all done, and tears, lots and lots of tears. And as I mentioned my peak year of staying up at night in unadulterated paranoia with many questions left in the air instead of answered. While I often can get in that headspace still from time to time, I lay here writing this three years later in a bed thousands of miles away from the one where those terrors began. I tucked those nostalgic fears in the covers of my childhood bed and haven't missed them since.

Now when I have those wildfire thoughts I am much less worried. Instead, I fire out my thoughts from a place of curiosity with hints of excitement peering in now and then. I take in information and let it flow through me. The thoughts I have at night have become therapeutic instead of the shackles trapping me to my room.

It's not always easy, especially when having to deal with the past. That is the easiest way to sidetrack any sort of progress or hope. It's hard to focus on who you've become when you get caught up on who you used to be. If you're looking for the quickest way to bring you down, think of the last time someone said they wanted nothing to do with you anymore. Double points if the person saying it was to yourself.

But this doesn't have to be the case. The past is not always a burden, but a reminder of time. Each instance is a benchmark even the bad ones! Hidden under your not so great moments, it's telling of what you were going through during the time and what you were looking for but weren't able to communicate it others even to yourself.

You no longer search for what you did wrong to the friend who expressed they couldn't be there for you anymore. You no longer trace back over your relationship for what created those cracks where you slipped through. Even with the accidental recrossing of paths, you can go your separate ways without any strings attached.

You no longer think of when your first love stopped thinking of you. Of who said what, who did what, and if it was even such a good idea in the first place. You don't think of what life they're living now because that's ancient history, almost a different lifetime. Energy is wasted on thinking of those who make us feel weak.

And of course, those littlest things that are meant to be earthquakes aren't anymore. After years of disappointments, unexpected flair ups, and mistakes, it takes a lot more to explode. I feel how I have endured more and the resilience I have developed over the years. Oddly enough, I feel I have been able to embrace the more loving, emotional, and passionate I've become.

The opposite of fear is love and I won't punish myself in the dark anymore. I try my best to keep that promise. Some nights I definitely lose and the walls slowly build up around me. But there are also nights like these that are able to overpower such times. Nights where I lay down in the bed of my dorm, uncertain, but blissfully navigating my way into the waters of the different paths ahead of me. Time may not always be on my side, but it has an extended stay for now. And I hold onto it for all it's worth, wandering and waiting for whatever's bound to come next.