Going to college wasn’t a choice for me: it was mandatory for me to succeed in my goals.
Going to a college six hours away from home? Now THAT was a choice.
Leaving my family was a choice. Keeping in touch or choosing to pick up the phone or even answer their messages was a choice. Staying close was a choice.
Growing up, I lucked out. I grew up in a family that sheltered me, guided me, cared for me, fed me, yelled and punished me when necessary but celebrated me when it was necessary as well. Disagreements arose and frustration occurred often between my parents and I, but so did jokes, laughter, and family outings.
I remember in 2012 my parents dropped me off to college with my roommate and boyfriend at the time and all I could say was “Ok bye, see ya, leave…NOW!” And was off doing my own thing. Sure, my family and I were close, but it wasn’t to where I planned to call them every day or check in weekly. Homesickness seemed non-existent to me. Seeing them only twice a year at Christmas and my birthday in June didn’t seem as though it would pose a problem.
Throw in a heartbreak that I never thought would happen, 40 + hour workweeks while attending an honors college, and the depressive thoughts that could prevent anyone from leaving his/her bed and you change your mindset real quick.
Looking back at that, I’ve been out on my own for nearly four years and my relationship with my parents has changed for the better. No, I don’t call them everyday and update them on my every move, but maybe once a week or so I’ll let them know I’m still alive. I’ll fill them in the latest date I’ve been on, talk to my dad about the latest workout I’ve been trying or maybe some new ways to alter my diet, and maybe even post on their face book and actually acknowledging their existence
So Sue and Luke, this post is a shout out to you guys. Here are the top ten things you both have taught me that I’ve realized at age 21.
10. Don’t underestimate yourself:
The hundreds and hundreds of times I’ve applied and been accepted into programs, leadership groups, awards, and scholarships still blows my mind. My self esteem and confidence has always been on the low side, but you taught me to believe in myself.
9. Pick up your things and put them back where they belong
Dad, remember that time you threw my baby doll’s ballet slipper in the trash because I didn’t pick it up when I was done with it? I cried (and I’m still not over it!) Now I’m 21 and I’m not over the fact that my friends, room mates, partners, and co-workers cannot simply use something and put it back where it belongs instead of leaving it lye around the area. Thanks for making me development this trait!!
8. Don’t fear change
Moving nearly every year gave me the opportunity to learn from new environments and make friends with new faces. I’ve learned that pursuing new career paths and taking up new and unfamiliar opportunities can get me further in life than I believed it ever could.
7. You are beautiful
Beauty is more than the physical traits of a person. It’s their mannerisms and quirks; their personality traits. My parents made sure I knew that I was beautiful whether I believed it or not.
6. Watch what you say and who you say it to
Every time I vented or gossiped about a certain girl/boy growing up, my mother remembered every detail of it. Years later when I would bring him/her up, she could remember the previous stories I told about that person. So watch what you say about someone and who you say it to—once it is out there, there’s no getting it back.
5. Never discourage someone’s likes, dislikes. If anything, encourage it
My mother never turned her head when I told her I wanted to dye my hair. From black hair, to red hair, to black tips, maroon tips, blue streaks, she was there when I wanted these things done. She encouraged my all black wardrobe growing up and would even find clothes to add to the collection. My dad came with me to get my lip pierced although he thought it was the farthest thing from a good idea. All of my likes and interests never aligned with my parents, but they never once told me how “wrong” it was to feel a certain way about things. Now I live everyday listening to people’s perspective and interests and finding and enjoying why they feel certain ways. I’ve learned to be accepting and encouraging because of my parents.
4. Work first, play later
This is NOT the case for everyone, but I hope my future children develop this mindset. Jumping off the bus in elementary school, I would come home and immediately empty out my purple Winnie the Pooh backpack and begin my homework before I even THOUGHT about knocking on our next door neighbor Sara’s house to see if she wanted to play outside on the swing set. fifteen years later and I still have that mindset—do all my homework, email all my clients, prep all my meals BEFORE I even think about going on pinterest and getting lost in a world of recipes for an hour (or four…hehe)
3. Always wear your seatbelt
Every time someone comes in my car, whether they are significantly younger or older, or whether I get in THEIR car, I always make sure the seatbelts are on…even if we’re just going from one parking spot to the next. Growing up with a police officer father will really engrain things in your mind. other similar ideals include: do not drink and drive, do not get in a car with someone who has been drinking, always wear your helmet (even when you’re a 21 year old biking to class…) and never talk to strangers (unless you’re in a grocery store helping them choose the best type of cheese or BBQ sauce)
2. Your true love may be someone who is your complete opposite
Everyday I wonder how in the world my parents ended up together. A ginger and a brunette…an overall health and fitness enthused man and a “I’ll eat what i like” perspective woman…a short tempered and “one hour early is late” mindset filled man with a relaxed tempered “5 minutes early is good enough” woman…where are the similarities? I’m only 21, but I’ve spend countless times X’ing out people who had no similarities to me, or who fell into my mold of the ‘mohawk –tattooed-fitness enthused alpha male that chances are I passed up several people that could have treated me way better than I have ever been treated previously. with that being said I also learned to let love find you, and not push for something that isn’t there anymore.
1. Try your best in all that you do
Perfectionism can really mess with your mindset, but after hearing my father constantly tell me that as long as I try my best, that’s all that matters, I’m slowly becoming more accepting of that thought. Sure, I’m still hard on myself when I don’t get the highest grade, or get the award or whatever it is that I am aiming for, but as long as I learn from my mistakes and try my hardest, that’s all I can really ask of myself.