A note from me, 7 years ago

The Facebook Memories feature has been really great for looking back at fun photos and messages between friends. Today it allowed me to get a peek back at my 20-year-old self through resurfacing a Facebook Note I wrote during Spring Break of my sophomore year.

It was really interesting to read what I was thinking about and reflect on what has changed and what hasn’t since then. Re-reading the comments that my friends wrote and posted also made me appreciate how lucky I was to have friends willing to read and respond.

7 years after writing about wanting to live fully, be more present and strengthen important relationships, I am still working on it. Not surprising that I haven’t yet achieved some sort of nirvana :) but definitely a good reminder that it’s all a practice.

Here’s a re-post of that note (with a few less typos), because it’s almost all of it is still relevant:

I’m beginning to realize it more and more that there really isn’t enough time in the world. I mean, it’s something I’ve always thought, but I feel like I’m beginning to FEEL more how true it is. In the blink of an eye I go from being a dinky 15 year old freaking my dad the hell out while he’s teaching me how to drive to being 20 years old, driving hundreds of miles home from my 2nd year of college without him clutching the handle, sitting tight in the passenger seat. And I’m only just realizing that dad’s beginning to look a little more grey, a little more little, and he dozes off just about anywhere, even while I’m driving him around.

And how could it be that in the few months since winter vacation, I barely talked to my siblings, some of my closest friends, barely knew what was going on for them even though just about everyday I thought about calling them? The thoughts of “tomorrow, I’ll call them,” or “this weekend when there aren’t any classes”, never actually became anything more. And before I know it, it’s been months and there’s so much to tell that doesn’t get told, or at least not in a way that gives it any justice. Things that happened and were super HUGE at the moment can’t be retold in the same way with the same urgency, the same emotion behind it.

I’ve been feeling really reflective lately. And I’ve recently realized that a lot of the shortcomings that I might see in some people could really — at least partly — be a result of how I am towards them. I can be more patient with my mom. I should keep trying. Over and over. Because even though when it seems to be working, it only lasts a few minutes, at least we’re getting somewhere for those few minutes. If I never expressed interest in actually having a conversation with her, how would she know? It’s partly my fault. And so she doesn’t understand me. But I also never really gave her the chance to. And yeah, she didn’t seek out the chance, but I could always put it right there in front of her. And if she doesn’t know any better, it’s kind of my responsibility as the one that does to make an effort to enlighten her. 
She is difficult. But my good friend, Noreak, said to me today, “It’s your [mom]. You only have one.”

And this has to be true of any relationship. If there is an issue there, even if it’s not coming from you alone, it kind of becomes your fault if you’re aware of it and you just let it stew. Or if you know there’s something that can be done, but you ignore it, instead. If there is a problem, make a PLAN OF ACTION!! Even when it is something that you can’t directly change. Because you can always change the way you look at it, and sometimes that’s all it really takes.

Life is way too short and already full of tough stuff. So I should simplify, simplify, simplify (Thoreau). I’ll simplify difficult decisions by being more honest with myself about what I really want, simplify problems with others by confronting the issue straight on, simplify school stress-causers (huh. i’m sure that’s not actually a word) by being more organized and focused.

At times I get myself so caught up in this bubble and it’s easy to smudge up the evidence of life whirling around outside of my path to and from campus. I forget that that is more than going to lecture, Circle K meetings and events, studying for exams. It’s still so easy to forget that BIG BRIMMING POT with the rest of your life sitting there on the back burner.

And I’m really motivated tonight after all this thinking. There are a lot of things in life to worrycrystress about, but there is SO MUCH that is amazing, too. More often, I should forget about hurrying back to study, take a new, longer way home instead. Take the risk of doing this or that, even if I might look like an idiot. Be a better student so I can sleep a little more (I’ve realized how much lack of sleep affects my mood). Manage my time better so I don’t lose sleep and can enjoy the really satisfying feeling of doing well academically, physically, emotionally.

I need to quit the habit of skimming emails and marking them as unread so I’ll remember to go back to it later. I need to quit the habit of planning to go back to things later all together. Because more often than not, the “later” is too late (like studying… because before I know it, it’s the day before the exam), or I forget all together (kind of like when my emails get pushed farther and farther back down the page.) Or like calling/writing/seeing people. I need to do more in the RIGHT NOW.

So right now, I’m going to be a better daughter, and try harder to communicate with my parents. I’m going to be a better sister and a better friend and call more, inquire more, share more. I’m going to be a better student and be more organized, more proactive in learning. I’m going to be a better leader. I’m going to be a better person by being all of those so that I’ll be happy, inspired, educated… All the things I need if I’m going to save the world, of course.

Life is so short so we need to do more right NOW or just constantly, ALL THE TIME! Love more, hug more, risk more, forgive more, share more, read more, write more, create more, travel more… EXPERIENCE more. Just do it, whatever IT is! Even when it’s scary. Even when it will probably hurt like nuts. 
Because it builds character. 
It makes us human.

We’re not infinite beings, but we can revel in the moments that make us feel like we are. 
Like driving at night with the windows down and the music on loud. Or flying down a slope on your bike. Or having the most perfect kiss. Or lying on the grass with a buddy, with nowhere else to hurry to, nothing else to do.

So you kind of need to create a balance… be practical and make plans, set schedules. But know when it’s okay, or more beneficial (to your mental health!) to deviate from those. To drop the need to dos and run around dancing like you want to do
Because life is awesome. It blows my mind when I think of all of the things we are capable of doing. If I wanted to right now, I could just up and go live on my own little farm. Crazy!

Basically, tonight for a while I just really felt this weight from thinking about all these really sad things that can happen. And now I’m just feeling really really motivated to enjoy the hell out of life.