Everything will change. All the time. All around you. And some days it will feel like you are struggling just to keep up. There is so, so much you are going to miss – people and places and particular moments that felt so heavenly. Cherish them all, and remind yourself that this is all, so much more than okay, and there is so, so much more coming your way.
Right now everything feels like you’re caught in a whirlwind with the days tipping over faster and faster. Breathe. I have never seen 8 hours pass so quickly until last week. I have never felt a month go by so quickly until this month. So I take extra “me” days, I remind myself constantly, to breathe. I hope if you need to, that you do the same.
It is so easy to focus on everything that is wrong, or scary, or lonely. I am exceptional at this. But I also know that the difficult things are the only things that made me grow up to be whoever I am today and so right now, I’m trying to think the hard way – I’m trying to focus on the really good, and amazing, things.
For a while you think you left the drastic changes in friendships back in high school. Then you finish university, and you realize that most friendships will change even when you least expect it. That certain people are meant for particular seasons of your life – to be there, and make it so utterly magnificent. The next season they may be gone, or there in just a different way. Sometimes it will feel strange and lonely. Sometimes it will feel more than necessary. Everything, once again, is more than okay.
You’re still so young. Some days you will feel that way. Some days you’ll feel like a child, like you’re too young to be making the decisions you’re making, or working the job you’re working. Others you’ll wonder how you got so old so fast and you’ll be disappointed about how early you went to bed on a Friday night. Regardless, we are still so young. We can do anything. And some years that will mean plane tickets and new kisses and living out of vans or small houses or houses with too many roommates. But other years it will mean stability, 1 year leases, commitment, Monday-Friday’s, doctors check-ups, and a Friday spent in. There is a time to be still, and be here, and be now – and there is a time to run around and be wild – and you are entitled to whatever you feel suits you best right now.
You can’t do everything at once – or be everywhere at once. So take a breath, and stop trying so hard to fit everything in the world into a small chunk of time. Stop trying to fit two months from now into next week. Stop trying to solve next year’s problems by tonight at midnight. Let it go.
Travelling will be one of the most important and life changing things you’ll ever do. And then after you do it, you might forget that sometimes the most important and life changing thing you can do is just stay put for a little while. The point is, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as as you’re doing whatever is best for you. Travel, and experience the world, or stay in your city and sign a one-year lease and enjoy a small taste of stability.
Health will probably become more important at some point. Maybe it always has been. Maybe you’ve experienced pain, or anxiety, or illness your whole life. Maybe you’ll start to experience it for your very first time. But if you haven’t already, now is an excellent time to start putting your health first. To start doing whatever it is you need to do to take care of yourself. To learn how to listen to your own body, and do what it’s telling you to do.
Get good at being alone – learn to like being alone. Get to a point where you can value yourself on your own when you’re single and when you’re in a relationship. Don’t let your relationship status define who you are or how you can cope with being alone.
Try out different churches. Or don’t. I can’t tell you what to do here, but I can tell you there’s a community of people that exists beyond the stereotype, or the doubt, or the anger – sometimes you have to search for it harder than you should. We should know by now that none of us are perfect. But I encourage you to try those new things. To abandon everything you think you know so well, and try to learn something else. We’re at an age when we start deciding what things are important to us and what aren’t and sometimes we have to try new things to figure out any of that at all. This is mine – a growing and aching importance in my life that stems beyond four walls and a speaker at the front of the room. But I’ve been enjoying that part, too.
We do not know everything. I know we have been taught for so long to form opinions about everything, and I do not think that is inherently wrong. But do not be so rigid all the time. We are too young to possibly know everything – but sometimes we have to push past ourselves to learn anything new.
You may have noticed that we’ve really started to struggle with holding conversations. Especially when we can’t agree. We need to learn how to talk about the things we don’t want to talk about. With our friends, our partners, our families, our coworkers – with anyone. We need to learn to talk about the hard stuff – the things we don’t see eye-to-eye on – the things we feel so passionate about. And we really need to learn to do it well – to do it with respect, and kindness, and love. We need to learn to do it fast because we’ve already woven a thick web of miscommunication and it’s going to be a hard one to tear down.
There will be things – people – or places – you walk away from. That’s okay. Last year I went to a Christian concert downtown and I walked out before it was even halfway over. I felt my chest tighten and the anxiety ripple through my skin as I listened to what some man had to say. I knew in that moment that I believed in God but I did not believe a word that this person was saying. So I left, hands shaking, I left. And that was okay. This year, I walked away from a friendship I should have walked away from months ago. Actually, I walked away several times, because I kept on going back for more. Walking away is hard – I am no good at it, I don’t know who is. But at this point in our lives, it’s time we learn how to do it.
For a while it will seem like there are seasons for things. Seasons to be in relationships and to be single. Seasons to travel and seasons to land a really important job. It will feel like we’re all somehow supposed to be in the same season, and you will struggle with envying someone who is where you’re not. There is no trend here. No season you are supposed to be in. You do not have to follow a path, you can do whatever it is you want. Sometimes the grass will look greener elsewhere, so learn fast how to trust yourself.
Right now, you’ll likely have more questions than you do answers. Most of your answers will probably be made up of “I don’t know’s”. You’ll waste far too much time searching for answers. I spend far too much of my time searching for answers. But there aren’t many right now. Maybe you’ll come across a few and you can cherish those. But for the most part, we must learn how to live in the unknown – maybe, we’ll learn to love it.
Relationships are going to end, and they’re going to begin. Both will be hard at times and wonderful at others. That is the nature of them. We are not bound to anything or anyone right now, but we should enjoy every opportunity we get to love somebody, and to let somebody love us in return.
Wherever you are right now, this is not forever. Whatever it is that’s holding you back or keeping you down, won’t be there forever. These things are all bound to change. But that goes for the good things too. So wherever you are right now, find a way to enjoy it – to fall in love with – before it changes and it becomes time to fall in love with something brand new.
If you haven’t already, this is a great time to start showing yourself a little more than a little love. A lot, would be nice.