For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Summer is definitely NOT my favorite season. Too hot. Too many bugs. Idle hands (and all that entails.) And yet, of all the four seasons, it is the most magical! Anything can (and usually does) happen in the summer. Long days lend themselves to contemplation, soul-searching and deep pondering…three of my absolute favorite things.
Summer is complicated and easy at the same time. For me, innumerable hours of drive time, ball games and travel make for a hectic schedule, but it’s a good kind of busy. Dealing with active/bored teenagers 24/7 has its cons, but with each passing year I experience so many more of the pros. Soaking up sunshine and staying up late under starry skies makes for a happy heart. (And hiding out in the AC is equally as good!) It’s during these times that I find true gratitude and real, meaningful peace. I know it won’t always be like this. Maybe that’s why I savor these summer days so much…and I’m so incredibly saddened when this special season ends.
As we wrap up Summer 2018, I offer up my “song of summer.” I choose one every year…a habit that began in my youth. This summer’s song sparked tons of dialogue on long car rides as I FORCED any (and all) passengers to sit and listen. And if you think pop stars Macklemore and Kesha have little to offer…think again. My kiddos could probably write a paper about why this song speaks to me and then list the lessons in it for them as well. I’m not trying to say this track will change the world, but as far as summer songs go…there’s something to be said about the “Good Old Days.” Adios, summer….
“Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change, You’ll miss the magic of these good old days…”
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” -Art Williams
Congratulations! You’re about to embark on an exciting adventure! And if you’re anything like I was at age 18, then you had one foot halfway out the door during senior year. I originally offered this advice to my niece when she made her BIG move, but I thought I would offer it again here. (Original post-January 5, 2017.)
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 better 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.
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.
SPECIAL NOTE: You cannot live on Ramen. You will try (we all do.) But I repeat, you cannot live on Ramen.
Remember, there are a lot of people rooting for you, kid! You got THIS. Welcome to your next adventure!
The old is gone. The new is here. 2 Corinthians 5:17