Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Note to My College Self

Hey there, Jess.

I know you have tons of things to focus on right now (concerts, God, boys, school, work, art, writing, family drama) and that it feels as though you are bursting at the seams. You are having a great time figuring out how to be an adult, but there are some tough parts to this part of the journey also. The good news? You marry a wonderful man and the children you never thought you would be able to have are just out of this world amazing. In short, things work out.

I am writing you today to gently remind you to focus a bit more on a few things while you are there, getting your college on. Before you know it, those four years are over and life is moving on whether you are prepared for it or not.

Enjoy those Fridays nights. Enjoy the crap out of them. Play your SoCo and Dispatch a little bit louder. Light a few more candles. Write a few more pages each night, recording the details of what it feels like to be in this moment of your life. Write about other things also, and illustrate those stories. Use your paints and colored pencils more. Stay up a bit later and for heaven's sake, order an extra Gumby's pizza or ten, because you will never get to eat one again once you leave Manhattan, Kansas!

Sleep in from time to time, and cherish those siestas.

It might seem like there isn't time for you to read all the required material for class, but there is. Read it and take notes. Don't sell that Art History book in between semesters, thinking you can wing it. You can't. You get a D in Art History II. Keep those art books. Get more involved in your study groups. Read more books that are not on a syllabus. Stop trying to B.S. your way through the more  difficult classes just because you know you can get a 'B' without trying, and try!

Be grateful for the opportunity you have to go to daily Mass and keep going, soaking in every holy moment of silence and the ability to pay attention. Try to force your introverted self to talk a little more to the others in your circle.

Stop the push and pull in your head that wonders if you are good enough, smart enough, holy enough, pretty enough.

When that friend stops by spontaneously and asks you to go with them, GO!

You have a great head on those shoulders, and you are plenty responsible. What you don't see coming, is the time ahead of you as a parent. While it is fulfilling in unimaginable ways, your ability to read, write, sleep, eat, draw, paint, nap, go to concerts and be spontaneous is temporarily, mostly put on hold. You will miss it. You will be happy and blessed beyond measure, but you will miss studying painting techniques and philosophers. You will miss writing for hours to music blaring as candles burn. You will miss Gumby's pizza. You will wonder what memories you would have made if you had just gone when your friend asked you to go.

You will forever be annoyed for yourself for getting a 'D' in Art History II.

Before you know it, it will have been ten years since you had the chance to go to a museum or to Mass or to your bed or to pee alone and just for you. You will be busy trying to make memories and teach lessons for those beautiful children you are raising, and you will be trying not to take one moment of your time with them for granted.

So don't take this time for granted either. Play a few more games of Hide and Seek on that beautiful K-State campus. Maybe go play in the snow a few times at Benedictine. You still don't need to learn that fight song, but you will want to have some good stories to pass on. Like that one time a guy stole your friend's drumstick. Or you met that lead singer. Or that time you ate Gumby's pizza all week.

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