The last time I wrote a post like this, I was agitated, frustrated, and worried. So much so that I was frequently feeling like I hadn’t slept in days, and became distracted from important tasks that needed to get done. I blamed this mildly off-kilter period on not having fully recovered from my birthday celebration and Dance Marathon. I blamed it on other people not calling me back when I was trying to make all these plans.
But in these last couple of weeks, as I have spent time writing in my journal and participating with my cell group, along with being around other friends, I’ve realized something. While the above may have been part of it, there was an obvious factor that I refused to acknowledge: I was trying too hard to be in control.
Subconsciously, I think that is one of, if not the main reason why I worry so much, and why other people might do it as well. Worrying becomes a way of trying to control something that is otherwise uncontrollable. Maybe not in the literal sense, but I’ve always justified it as a way of preparing myself for the worst-case scenario. And by preparing myself for the worst, I somehow think that it will lessen the pain of what may or may not happen.
Most of the time, it never works; when all it said and done, you’re either left wondering why you wound yourself up in the first place, or pissed that you tried to protect yourself from pain or heartache and it still hit you anyway.
But the fact remains that we as human beings can only do so much to get what we want; we can plan our lives out in this perfect design, and put every little ounce of effort into it in order to make it happen. Unfortunately, stuff happens when you least expect it and those plans end up in a scramble.
And I know this because for the majority of last year (and for a good portion of last semester), I believed that I had to follow this clear-cut blueprint of what you were supposed to do in college (particularly your freshman year). I thought it would all be so easy, and as time went on that was definitely not the case. I had to learn (and am still learning) how to roll with the punches and let go of things that I can do nothing about.
I actually have a little saying that goes “Do what you can, and let God take care of the rest.” There are times where it’s difficult to live by, because I frequently put the blame on my own shoulders when something goes wrong, or doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. Out of habit, I have a tendency to push myself until I can’t physically or emotionally do it anymore. I fail to remember that I have done my very best, and from that point on the situation is in God’s hands.
Looking back on it, I was so up in arms about spending time with my friends and whatnot because of a slight realization that dawned on me not too long ago: this period in my life is going by so incredibly fast, and it’s a time that I am never going to get to live through again. I don’t want to do what I did in high school by living too far in the past and focus on too much on the future. I want to live in the here and now while soaking up every moment that I possibly can.
Yet, a couple of weeks ago, I was doing exactly what I did in high school: I was so focused on not wanting to miss out on certain things that I couldn’t see what was genuinely important: that it’s not just about the activities your participate in, but who is by your side participating with you.
For example, there was one particular weekend where I decided to go downtown on a Friday night by myself (my roommate was supposed to come with me but backed out at the last minute, and I was not about to spend another weekend cooped up in my apartment). I figured that I would either run into someone I was already friends with, or meet a few new people while I was there. It turns out I was correct on both counts; but neither stayed with me for very long, and I actually spent most of the evening on the dance floor alone.
That’s not to say that it wasn’t a good night, or that it’s a bad thing to spend time alone in general. However, it was one of those things where I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had been surrounded by people that I care about. Just recently, I did have a night on the town with some of my friends, one who has become like a sister to me. And I can honestly say the whole experience was nothing short of incredible.
Choosing quality over quantity can be a hard practice to live by, mostly because of the cultural obsession with numbers. Bigger equals more. More equals better. The more experience you have, the better you’re off when it comes to dealing with specific situations.
I think it very much depends on the person; some feel more comfortable with having a laundry list of where they’ve been, who they’ve met, and the accomplishments they’ve achieved. It all comes down to what you put into it, and whether or not you’re willing to look at the bigger picture in order to get something out of it.
In my case, college is not just about what you do on the weekends, or how often you do it. It’s about what you learn, who you meet and get to know, and how you’re able to grow and mature from all of it.
More often than not, I have to take a deep breath, stay calm, and put the concept of patience into practice. I’ve seen with my own eyes that things always tend to work out one way or the other, even if it’s not exactly the way I want it to.
Don’t be upset or afraid in certain happenings (or people) in your life are rare and far and in between. It’s an indication that you have something wonderful, and that you should simply take it for what it is and appreciate it in the best way that you know how.