I am a firm believer that rearview mirrors, at least in the figurative sense, should only be met with glances. There’s no use dwelling on things that have already passed, yeah? However, sometimes you can let those glances linger as long as it’s for the sake of reminiscing rather than brooding.
Lately, I have found myself doing quite a bit of this lingering as I prepare to wrap up my experience at an undergraduate university. There are a few things that have been on my mind that I just really want to get down on paper… or screen.
I’m hoping you’ll find this inspiring if you too are approaching this milestone (congratulations, go you!) or helpful if you’re just embarking on your undergraduate journey. Wherever you are in life, I hope you find this to be an uplifting read at the very least.
Right, let’s get on with the rest of it then, shall we?
~ the rest of it ~
Ya know, I really don’t think freshman year Madds would recognise who I am now. It sounds cliche, but this is truly something that I’ve been ruminating on a lot recently. When I started my college journey, I was lost within myself. That sounds strange, but it accurately describes where I was in life.
I was at a place where I was desparately trying to gather all of the pieces of who I thought I was supposed to be, never stopping to think about the possibility that this process was stopping my growth into the person I was destined to be. There is a difference. See, I was trying to be the lady I though would make me succeed the most in every aspect of life, especially socially and academically. I was a people pleaser to a fault, but I always managed to leave one person out of that equation: me.
Now, I may have some invisible bruises that refuse to heal and bits of myself may be stuck together with glue in the form of self affirmations, but the woman I am today is so much stronger and sure of herself. I still have days where I feel like I can’t trust myself, which is a part of my anxiety disorder that I’m learning to accept. But, I now also have days where I am able to clearly see the worth in my voice and heart, which is something I haven’t always been able to do. Nowadays, I can read something I’ve written for a blog post or in a song and realise, “Hey, you’re alright Madds.” That’s something that younger me never said to herself. In fact, it’s the direct opposite of what I used to tell myself.
Like I said before, no need to dwell.
Looking forward, I want to make sure I am taking my time to do exactly that. I want to look forward. I don’t want to turn back and think about how different things could be or would be. No, there’s no point. How things are right now is how they are, and if I would have taken any single step differently, I would not be on the same journey. And, for some reason, the twists and turns universe sent me on this very journey. This is where I need to be right now, and I need to fully be present in this moment.
See, things like finishing your undergraduate degree really put the concept of time into perspective. I mean, I vividly remember getting into my car after my last day of classes at Kent State my first year of uni and thinking, “It’s over.” But, it wasn’t. I still had three more years, two of which I would go on to spend at Ohio Wesleyan and one at Royal Holloway, University of London. Now… it’s truly over, in what seems like the blink of an eye. This chapter of my life will be officially closed when I accept my diploma at the commencement ceremony this weekend.
Time doesn’t stop. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but I find that seeing that phrase written down somewhere really helps wake you up a bit. It doesn’t stop. For anyone or anything. Time doesn’t stop for worries or tears. Time doesn’t stop for smiles and laughs. So, live each moment. Don’t anxiously wait for the next day to come along, because it will before you know it. And ya know, you don’t get time back. People say it’s never too late, but sometimes it is. Moments will pass. It will always be too late to live them, so you have to be present in the moment.
So, when people ask me what my plans are after this weekend… I think that’s what I’ll say. Or at least some version of that. My plan is to live, truly and fully live.