Reliving Your Childhood Is A Profound Experience

Reliving Your Childhood Is A Profound Experience

Take advantage of any sort of chance to do something to release the kid in you.

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Last week, the first thing I did when I got home from college was — not unpack — go to Barnes and Noble. If you know me, this is completely normal behavior. But, it was not my normal visit; I was going to see an author. But it wasn't an author I have read for years, almost a decade. I went to the book signing for the author of my favorite childhood books, Erin Hunter.

The Erin Hunter team wrote the cat books we all read as a kid about the wild cats living in the woods, the Warriors series. I remember reading 36 of the now-still-growing number of books and finishing the very last one that I read, running downstairs in the middle of the night, and sobbing to my parents. It was the most exciting, creative, and intense book series that I had read at the time, and were the coolest thing I had ever stumbled upon in fourth grade. I've moved on to adult novels of course, but those box sets I got in middle school still make me smile every time I see them under my desk, holding up the massive collection of new books I have accumulated.

And they were just that for me — a foundation. I read those books in two days sometimes, and they changed the way I would read for the rest of my life. But not only that, I loved them so much that they were the books that inspired me to write when I was just a fifth grader. It might have been the worst four pages of ripped up notebook paper with messy, scrawling elementary school handwriting ever of a story ever, but it was the start of something.

Those books gave me a passion of reading and inspired me to write, and how ironic it was to come home from college, the epitome of stretching my wings and entering adulthood, and drive straight to Barnes and Noble to get to see my favorite childhood author. I owed my passion for literature and writing in part to that team of writers, and I just had to see them in person.

I was the only person (besides parents) above the age of thirteen, so I lingered in the back, a little red-faced and nonchalant, holding my beat up copy of my favorite book at my side. The author of the team's newest series came up and started to speak. After the children ceased their squealing. The crowd gathered may have been small, but it gave me so much hope that kids were still reading, as they were all holding physical books and not tablets, phones, or anything. They were just as enraptured with the author who brought me so much joy when I had been their age as I was. We were both experiencing the same joy of seeing the person and hearing the voice behind the words that came to life in our minds.

Standing there as the only adult not supervising their child, I held back a little bit from frantically raising my hand and just listened to her speak. Listening to her speak about the most recent series was incredibly interesting, but it was not the most important thing I took away from her visit. She spoke of her journey as both a writer and an author, and the whole first part of it was eerily similar to what I do on a daily basis. I was not expecting to learn anything by going to that or to gain anything profound beyond some positive nostalgia and gratitude for the stories she helped to tell. But I got so much more than that; I go reassurance and encouragement to keep with it.

By taking an opportunity to return to something you enjoy, you never know how much you might find from the experience. I was just going to go for the sake of my self from ten years ago, who would have scolded me if I did not. What you need to hear finds you at the exact time that you need it to, and sometimes the opportunities to listen come in gifts that are wrapped with interesting paper.

What I needed to hear — as someone who only finds the time to write narratively in her free time — came from one of the women who sparked that passion, and if that is not something coming full circle, I don't know what is. I needed to tap into my inner child and younger self in order to hear what was always being shouted all around me, but then again, children are much more open-minded and can pick up on things that a grown person may not ever take a moment to observe.

So break out the watercolors. Pick up your favorite chapter book from middle school. Go put that old Disney movie on the TV. You might pick up on something that you always understood as a kid, but need to hear with a more experienced mind.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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