I’ve been thinking a lot lately about change…and growing up…and moving on. Senior year is one of those times when you really start to evaluate your life in all of its positive and negative lights. And you think, “What have I done with the 17 years that I’ve been alive? What opportunities have I embraced, and which ones have I bypassed? How do I move forward?”
Suddenly, you have to make important decisions almost all by yourself, and your to-do list expands exponentially to include tasks that will change the course of your life.
How in the world am I supposed to navigate this whirlwind that people call “being an adult”?
First of all, stop stark still, right in the middle of your tracks. Yes, you might have to cling to the doorpost to avoid being borne away by the wind billowing about your ears, but you’ll find that once you grab on, it will grow easier to hold your grip. Close your eyes and pray. Discard that spiritual checklist that you keep in the back of your consciousness and take time to rest in His presence. And suddenly you’ll realize that no matter what happens this year (or any other), He will never allow you to be crushed by the whirlwind of jobs and school and relationships and decision-making.
Secondly, allow yourself room to make mistakes. As a perfectionist, I have a very high standard for myself, but I need to realize that I will inevitably make some bad decisions in life because I’m human. Don’t be paralyzed by all the what-ifs. When you fail, shake yourself, take courage, and move on.
And finally, don’t ever allow yourself to lose your childishness, even in the midst of all this adult jargon. Responsibility does not override creativity, and practicality does not negate imagination. If you become so consumed in filling out job applications, checking off your task list, and spending hours on research projects, you will forget what sunshine tastes like. You’ll forget how vibrant a dew-speckled rose is. You’ll lose the ability to interpret the birdsong filling the air with vernal hues. And by losing your sense of wonder, you begin to lose sight of eternity and immortality.
In his “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” Wordsworth cries,
“Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind…”
Don’t forget that you are young yet, and that humans were created as much to play and rejoice as to work and mourn. Explore, create, love, think, feel…
And don’t let the world abash your optimism.