Lesson number seven: Keep your arms open and your heart light

Dear younger self,

Don’t take life too seriously. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times you’ll had your heart crushed solely because reality fell short of your expectations. If there were one thing I could tell you, it would be this: “none of these guys are the one, your friends will come and go and there’s always another door to open, you just have to be patient.”

I expect too much, enjoy life too little and worry more than necessary. For the longest time, I blamed my character flaw on human nature. Thankfully, my college experiences taught me otherwise.

Leave your expectations at the door

When entering new relationships, friendships or even new academic ventures, leave your expectation at the door. Holding others, and most importantly yourself, to unrealistic expectation can lead to heartbreak, disappointment and a lack of motivation. While over analyzing and idealizing situations is part of human nature, it doesn’t have to command your life. Life is full of surprises: there’s no point in trying to plan out every little relationships and life venture. At the end of the way, expectations end up hurting you more than they help. Rather than enjoying the relationship, or whatever situation it is, for what it truly is, you’ll spend your time waiting for the future. Live in the moment.

Embrace the new:

College is meant to be a learning experience both in and out of the classroom. Your professors will constantly force feed you new information to embrace and master, but that’s now enough. Exploring new cultures, activities, people and pretty much everything else can help you develop as a person. As they say, “you never know until you try.” My freshman year, I put myself in a box. Not literally, obviously, but it may as well have been. I had my friends and my routine and that was that. Everything outside of that was weird. During my sophomore year, I went to a gathering that was anything but my normal surroundings. For the first half-hour, I sat awkwardly in the corner watching and judging. It wasn’t until a longhaired, scrawny boy came up to me and asked why I was so miserable that I realized how closed-off and unappealing I looked. Instead of embracing new people, I chose to close myself off and be miserable. He pulled me off the sofa, dragged me into the middle of the dance floor and commanded me to dance. Embarrassed and slightly tipsy, I agreed. To my surprise, it was fun. The strange weirdo’s I’d cast off minutes before joined me and made me feel welcome. I will never forget, it was that moment that Jack, the longhaired stranger, became my best friend and the rest of the weirdo’s became my primary support group.

Count your blessings:

Not everything in life is going to work in your favor. Take the negative with a grain of salt and embrace the positive. Focusing on the negative will only bring you more negative energy. On the flip side, focusing on the positive will bring more positive energy into your life. The choice is yours, so act accordingly.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble but you’re in for a long and somewhat painful path. On the positive note, it’s totally worth it. Keep your head up.

Sincerely,

Your older self

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