She believed she could, so she did. –R.S. Grey
A young woman who I know AND love is about to do something BIG and brave…and I couldn’t let this occasion go by without penning a few thoughts…because what’s the point of growing older (and wiser) if you can’t drop some knowledge on a youngster, right? Amen.
Most of these musings came to me at 2am. I mention this as both a disclaimer and an explanation to the randomness of these points, but let me start at the beginning. I remember the day you were born. Driving down the highway to the nearby town, your aunt and I talked excitedly about our soon-to-arrive niece. I’m pretty sure we didn’t know exactly what to expect, so when we were invited into the delivery room we stood dumbfounded. Now that you know us (and my aversion to all things medical) you can probably guess that we declined and opted to do the next best thing–MAKE A SIGN! We sat in the hallway with a poster board and some markers scribbling a “welcome baby” greeting just for YOU! From the beginning, you were so loved. For years, our whole family life revolved around you. When I would come home from college, you were one of the people I most looked forward to seeing. I liked to rock you to sleep and quietly sing the KU alma mater song…because I found the song both hopeful and soothing (and I wanted to make sure you grew up to be a Jayhawk fan.) Funny how things come full circle…it was this memory that actually brought me to write this blog which I hope will be equally hopeful and soothing to you as you ironically prepare to move to Manhattan, Kansas! So here goes:
- Moving away from home/going to school takes guts. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone should do it, but having the courage to walk away from everything you know and try something new/exciting/scary and uncomfortable deserves some major props. In doing this, you have already proven one thing: you are WILLING to take chances. Kudos.
- In many ways you’ve been preparing for this your whole life and in many other ways you’re not prepared at all. This is okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. It’s absolutely normal.
- Good things will happen and bad things will happen, too. How you deal with these things will make all the difference. My favorite quote is by author Og Mandino. It says “Count your blessings, proclaim your rarity, go another mile, USE WISELY YOUR POWER OF CHOICE, and one more–to fulfill the other four–do all things with love…love for yourself, love for all others, and love for GOD….You Are the Greatest Miracle in The World.” You can always choose. Remember that no hole is too deep, no place is too far for redemption.
- Never date a man with hair longer than your own. Random, I know…but really. Who needs the competition? I actually came up with this rule while visiting friends at K-State. I can’t remember what the circumstances were exactly, but it’s a rule that has served me well. BTW…man buns are now included in this one.
- Talk to God (a lot) and don’t forget to listen, too. Although I think you should go to church, I have to admit that I didn’t attend while I was in college. I can honestly tell you that I missed out and I would definitely do this part differently today. Nonetheless, I did a whole lot of praying during that time and LISTENING to God, too. This saved my bacon more than once and I am eternally grateful. Looking back I can clearly see God at work during my college years. Make your relationship with Him a priority.
- Practice the “pause.” I didn’t come up with this…I’m not sure who did, but it makes a lot of sense and it may actually save your life someday. “When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, always pray.”
- Keep an eye on your drink. Again, another random one…but this is vital. There are bad guys (and girls) out there. People who do not have your best interest at heart. People who will try to use (and abuse) you and hurt you to satisfy their own evil desires. These people will buy you drinks and worse, they may even spike your drink. I made it a practice to never, ever, EVER accept a drink from a stranger (and eventually I didn’t accept any drinks at all.) It was not always well received. I’ve been called countless names, been yelled at, and made fun of. I didn’t care. In fact, it just proved that this was someone who I definitely didn’t have any business hanging out with. If someone wants to buy you a drink, great. The two of you can go up to the bar and order it together. At a party, keep in mind that you are perfectly capable of pouring your own drink. Carry a water bottle (drunkenness is overrated anyway.) Be on guard. Protect yourself…and look after your friends, too.
- You’re not expected to peak now. While these clearly are some of the best days of your life…they’re not the only days of your life. Someday you might choose to travel, land your dream job, become President, meet an awesome guy, have a fabulous wedding, start your own business, become a mother…the list goes on and on. Life is a series of journeys. Never think that your best days are behind you…always look forward.
- Trust your gut…that’s the Holy Spirit at work. Look people in the eye, but more importantly watch what they say and do. I wholeheartedly believe God speaks to us and a little warning light goes off when we’re in bad company. Do not ignore this! Women (especially) tend to discount this small little voice. We want to be nice, we want to give people the benefit of the doubt, we don’t want to seem childish or afraid…you get the point. So we make nice…and often times this puts us in very vulnerable situations. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. End of story. You owe no one an explanation.
- Finally, know this…you can always go home. ALWAYS. There is no shame. You’ve stepped out once, you can and will do it again. This IS life. Having a home base is a luxury not afforded to everyone. You have a family that would move mountains for you (just ask.) This is an incredible blessing.
There are a lot of people rooting for you, kid. Team MO is firmly in your corner! You’re going to do great…I just know it. Do your very best, make good choices, and have lots of fun. You are so loved.
The old is gone. The new is here. 2 Corinthians 5:17