Why I've Stopped Dwelling On What-Ifs

Why I've Stopped Dwelling On What-Ifs

It's time to take your mom's advice.
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Wednesday afternoon, I started the long trek up to New York from Tallahassee, Florida. We planned to make the drive in two days: the first day we would stop in Knoxville, and then we’d drive the next day all the way to Buffalo. As often is the case, things did not go as planned: after enjoying a nice sit-down dinner in a small town in Georgia, we walked into the parking lot and realized our rental car had been broken into.

The passenger door window was smashed; there was glass all over the carseat, the middle console, and the pavement. We immediately called the police and got the attention of the manager of the restaurant. I barely noticed all of this, though, because I was so astonished that it had actually happened to me. I’ve been privileged to live my whole life so far without a single significant breach in my safety. I’d never felt so suddenly vulnerable to all sorts of dangers like I did in the half hour following the incident.

In the end, we found out that the only things missing from the car was a Michael Kors bag and my boyfriend’s mema’s work laptop. Of course it was horrible that these things were taken, but we realized we were also quite fortunate: our Dodge Grand Caravan was chock-full of not only monetary valuables, like my guitar, our game systems, and other laptops, but also emotional valuables that could’ve been damaged or lost.

For the rest of the night, I was driven wild by what-ifs: what if more had been taken? What if Mema had gone to get her drink from the car like she said she wanted to? Would she have walked right in on the robbery? What if we had parked somewhere else? What if we had kept driving through and not stopped in that town? Was there a way this could have been prevented? What if it happened again?

I had a dream that night in the hotel that the rest of our luggage sunk through the floorboards of the rental car like sinking sand. I woke up feeling similar: like I was slowly drowning in my thoughts of other scenarios, other what-ifs.

When we parked the car to get lunch the next day, we made jokes about how we’d park it right in front where we could see it from the restaurant windows. Even though we were being light-hearted, there was certainly a semblance of truth behind our joking. We were all still shaken up about it.

It wasn’t until we stopped again for dinner that it hit me: I had to stop worrying about the what-ifs. I had to stop worrying about what we could have done differently, because it didn’t matter: it had happened. And I also had to stop worrying about whether it would happen again, because I had no control over that. When it comes down to it, we really don’t have any control over a lot of things.

With this new mantra in mind, I was able to shake off most of my fear and keep moving forward. I brought this attitude with me to my first days on campus. It came in handy yesterday at my oboe placement audition, where, instead of worrying about how everyone was going to be way better than me, I focused on what I could control: my own performance.

I used to think that dwelling on what-ifs helped me to process the things that happened in my life, but what the break-in taught me was that it really just keeps you from moving forward. Obviously this will be an ongoing process — if it were easy to stop, no one would have a problem worrying about what-ifs — but until the fear is totally gone, I’m focusing on what I can control: locking my car, hiding my valuables, and parking in a well-lit area. Because when it comes down to it, focusing on what we can control is the only thing, and the best thing, that we can do.

Cover Image Credit: Beth Harrison

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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My Roommate Dressed Me For A Week, And I Have Thoughts

Find you a roomie that will go through your closet to pick out your clothes for five days in a row.

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Since I'm a college student, I don't see a point in putting effort into choosing my outfit each day. My go-to outfit is a sweatshirt with ripped jeans and converse. Sometimes I'll wear a nice shirt with a cardigan, but that is rare.

So, when I was going through what I wanted to take back home (since I didn't wear them), I asked for my roommate's approval and she selected a handful of shirts to keep. Since I had gotten rid of half of my clothes, she thought it was a good idea for her to decide what I should wear since I wouldn't do it on my own. Not only was she right, but she actually did it.

For this challenge, I was able to pick out my undergarments, socks, and shoes. My roommate chose my shirt, pants, and accessories.

Monday

Christina Stover

Starting the week off, my roommate went with a nice sweater and jeans. I really like the sweater, I just haven't worn it since winter break. Within the first five minutes at my 8 a.m. class, I received a compliment. I thanked them and told her all about how she was picking out my clothes for the week. She laughed and thought that was funny. The sweater was a bit warm, but it was still nice to wear something that I usually wouldn't and get noticed for wearing something different.

Tuesday

Christina Stover

Tuesday was similar to Monday in the sense of a sweater and jeans. I got the sweater for Christmas a few years ago, and it really seems like the kind of thing to wear to church instead of a casual weekday outfit. I really love floral patterns, so I was instantly drawn to this sweater. It makes me feel like a confident adult and that is definitely appreciated. She also picked out the baby blue raindrop necklace in the picture, and it really complimented the darker colors in the sweater. And I wore a pair of jeans that didn't have rips in them for the first time in months.

Wednesday

Christina Stover

A little fancier on this hump day. Wearing a cute dark green shirt with a little knot at the bottom, a cardigan because it's short sleeves and casual leggings. The necklace is an outline of the world's continents. I definitely felt a lot dressier in this outfit as opposed to jeans and sweatshirts. My signature half-up-half-down hairdo pulled the whole outfit together. Again, this is something I would wear to church and not to class. But I think this also helped my confidence and allowed me to come out of my shell a little, which is always a good thing.

Thursday

Christina Stover

Wearing a crop top in winter is always a power move. I really loved this outfit because not only did it color coordinate, but it was super cute. I had an interview earlier this morning, so I had mascara on, and it made my eyes pop, which was great. And the Army-green button-up shirt really brought the whole outfit together. The shirt says, "Crazy plant lady." Which is exhibited by the pictures of plants on the shirt and the cactus and succulent tapestry in the background. I thought this was one of my favorite outfits, plus I always love an excuse to wear leggings.

Friday

Christina Stover

Today, she gave me a little break. I spent the weekend at home, and she gave me a simple long-sleeve that says "Bowling Green" on the back with a huge mandala design, and the iconic ripped jeans. I had an interview this day as well, so my makeup is done again, and I wore a translucent teardrop necklace. The outfit was comfortable and practical for a day of running errands and spending time with family. It has been a while since I've worn this shirt, as well, so I enjoyed spicing things up with such a bright shirt.

Overall, I think this was a fun and exciting little experiment. What started as an assumed joke, turned into a learning experience about myself and my clothing options. I'm not saying that I won't be wearing sweatshirts frequently, but I am saying that it's nice to have options for fancier outfits. Each day we would have a little photo shoot that was funny and extra, but another fun perk of doing this experiment.

Now, in order for this to come full circle, I need to go through her closet and pick out her clothes for a week. That's definitely something for me to look forward to.

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