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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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Sometimes Change is Necessary

Attempting to break my day to day cycle.

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Change is scary. For some, it frightens us to our core. I, myself, am included among the some. I have always been a creature of habit. Wake up the same time, leave my house the same time, drive the same route to and from school, eat the same after class snacks, and go to sleep around the same time. The idea of change always sparked an anxiety in me that hit so deep it would prevent me from doing things such as going out to places i have never been or driving to locations that were unknown. I have missed out on many friend gatherings and get togethers because I refused to break out of my shell and attempt to go further than the 20 mile radius around my house.

I thought I was content with living a life of routine, I had convinced myself I was happy day in and day out, basically living in my own real-life groundhogs day. Then, there was an instance that brought my whole world tumbling down. Not getting into too many details, but this event has flipped everything I ever thought I knew about my life upside down. Suddenly there was no routine, no schedule to plan my life around, no order in this new world of chaos and I had no idea what to do. I immediately went into a panic, I began having anxiety attacks every day to the point where I was missing my classes and calling out of work. In all my 19 years on this planet, I had sheltered myself to the extent that I could not deal with basic change and that was not okay.

After about three weeks of daily stress and anxiety with small spurts of depression, I finally came out of my funk, and I came out with a completely new perspective on my life. I no longer wanted to be that person who said they couldn't go to events with friends because they had never been to the venue, I didn't want to be the boring stick in the mud I once was, what I wanted was to be happy with myself.

Ultimately I decided to start making changes in my life, albeit they started very small, but I was in control and that made me much more comfortable. I began trying new foods when I went out to restaurants and I started thinking more positively about my classes and my problems. I started to distance myself from problems that weren't mine and experimenting with my wardrobe and as time progressed, I even went as far to chop a solid half of my hair off and take up spiritual stone healing, as strange as that sounds.

Mind you it has only been about a month and a half I have been on this "change journey" but I can honestly say that I have never been more satisfied with who I am. I no longer feel as though I am wasting my days and that is something I could never say before. Now, this is not to knock those who enjoy a routine-style life, I was right there with you at one point, but for the sake of my own mentality I needed to break that cycle and I firmly believe everyone should try to too. Not to say everyone should take it to the extreme but maybe trying small things like finding a different place to study that isn't the library, listen to a genre of music you never thought you would, anything you find yourself repeating over and over as the days go by just think about ways to interrupt or enhance the norm. I have discovered how vital experiencing change has been in my own life and how much happier I have been overall, and I am finally excited to see what the unknown holds for me.

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