As the semester winds down, I have found myself reflecting on the school year as a whole. If I’ve learned one thing about life over the past school year I would say it is nothing. Nothing, that is, that can be summed up by a mantra or phrase.
Every year of life brings and teaches new things, this is inevitable, but the experiences that lead to the learning are different every year. To label an entire year and take away only one truth seems shallow and naive because so much more can be collected than just a singular lesson.
Though, if I had to label this season of life, I would have to say that it was a season of freedom. I learned how to open up and trust. I met new people who genuinely liked me for me, not for what I had to offer. I learned to be myself without worrying what others thought.
I stopped caring about what others thought. I cultivated new passions like relationships, writing, and learning with purpose.
I saw close relationships go through rocky ground and make it through. I learned that my faith was not something to call upon when convenient. I learned that I needed it in the form of a relationship. I learned that grace is something that I must continually give, no matter how hard it seems to give it.
I found it easy this year to care about others more than myself. I learned that people can teach me and I should listen, because even when they are ignorant I can learn to filter ignorance, which is extremely important.
I learned what happens when you get attached to something temporary. I learned that sometimes no matter how much you love someone, they don’t have to share that love for you.
I learned how to make good decisions and faced new and terrifying situations in which I was forced to make them. I learned that if you do your best some things still won’t work out for you, but sometimes they will.
I befriended people that I never thought I would ever know. I tried to show abundant love, and maybe I showed it to some people who I shouldn’t have focused on quite as much. I have found that family is wonderful and the most important thing on earth.
I spent a good portion of the year wishing I was "grown-up" and already done with college, but I have now accepted where I am, and if anything I want time to slow down.
There were times where I felt so out of place with my friends and family that my best friend was myself.
I spent time wishing I looked different and I still do, but it’s different now that I see how much more there is to life. God, family, friendships; these are the things that really matter. All of these require submission, relationship, not just false interest and feigning empathy.
I started to understand the opinion and mindset of a cynic, and have found that sometimes (most of the time) cynicism is the safer route, but rarely is it the rewarding one.
The song “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty came up on my Spotify a lot this year, to say the least, I heard it constantly. The song describes the jaded lifestyle of someone who has finally forgiven himself for his wrongs and surrendered, freed himself.
Though I would not say I am anything like the character in the song in my actions, I can say that I found myself free-falling this year into newer and better opportunities. I let go of the things weighing me down, whether they be people or insecurities.
I realized I had to do this to survive and live the life ahead of me. So, here I am, recapping my sophomore year of college, hoping to see progress or regression and decide which I have done. Reading over this and thinking about the year, I see progress.
I see that I am nowhere near wise or close to being a fully self-sufficient adult, but I am closer.
This year I laughed, cried, held people’s hands. I held babies, I prayed, I hugged people. I smiled, I frowned, I applauded. I heard music that brought me joy, I wrote poetry, I looked at the stars, I enjoyed silence.
I found calmness in noise, opened my eyes to hidden meanings, I danced. I lived.
And I have a whole lot of living left to do. In my opinion, that is what makes life such a special gift.