College is fun. I get to have a slumber party with my best friend every night and I can stay out as late as I want and I get to exercise the independence that has been burning inside of me since I was six. I’ve learned more about myself and who I want to be in the past ten weeks than I have in the past eighteen years. I’ve strengthened friendships and met new people and gone out of my comfort zone and tried new things and explored my passions and realized my goals and — yeah college is fun.
But life is a struggle. One big long seemingly endless struggle to figure it all out and to stop worrying about the meaningless dots and stars. Tummy aches and sleepless nights and sudden tears . . . it’s all part of it. I have some really amazing people in my life. People I don’t know how I got so lucky to know. People who leave their warm bed at 3 am to pick me up because I’m stranded at an Airbnb I can’t spend the night at. People who drop everything to be by my side when my anxiety reaches an all-time high. People who scream break-up anthems in the car with me because we are tired of our shitty friends. People who walk me home because it’s dark and late and I hate being alone. People who hug me so tightly I can barely breathe. People who lay under the stars with me and tell me how irrational I am.
The mountains here are beautiful. But I miss the ocean. I miss a lot of things. But that’s just it. Rarely do you realize how good you have it before it’s taken from you.
I have a friend from back home who really inspires me. She works harder than anyone I know and she does everything for herself — no one else. She skips out on parties to write stories and she doesn't let it affect her when she feels inadequate. But she has it far from easy. She skips meals and shutes people out. She has consistent family drama and her achievements go unrecognized. One time at the beach we were just talking and I started crying. And crying. My mental health was starting to cripple after my best friend in the whole world decided I wasn’t good enough. And she listened. She comforted me and reminded me that I deserve better. I DESERVE BETTER! As much as I say it I just can’t believe it.
I want to introduce my friend — let’s just call him Sam. I met him a long time ago. I have no idea when, but much longer than 18 years ago. I recognized him my first week at the University. Then I talked to him and realized there is no possible way I could have met someone like him before and forgotten. He is just too special. I must have met him in my past life or something. A time I can’t fully remember but that is still a part of mt even today. I always will be.
Sam inspires me to be better. He loves people and he loves life. He knows how to enjoy the little things and to take opportunities and to admit when he has fallen down. At least that’s what he wants everyone to think. I know Sam fights a battle he doesn’t tell me (or anyone) about. I worry about him so much it makes me cry. And then I think it’s my responsibility to carry his burdens. It isn’t. I’m not the only one who sees how lost he is. He isn’t happy. Or maybe he is. I don’t know. I stress him out. I know it. Somehow though I just feel so strongly that I need to be there for him to lean on. I’ve been wrong about that type of feeling though. And I’ve been right about it.
College is fun. The memories I will look back on with a smile and the stories I will tell my grandkids are the ones I’m living right now. Life is a gift. It truly is. Cuddles and kisses and cool grass and warm sunshine and picnic blankets and fuzzy socks and sunsets and smiles on the faces of people you love and late-night giggles and genuine friendship and group hugs and favorite songs and “wow I’m so lucky.” You are lucky. Breathe it in. Savor it. Live in the moment even when the moment is dark and lonely and frightening. Just know the happiest moments are fleeting, the darkest moments are strengthening and the in-betweens will give you the chance to reflect, and change, and fix, and figure out. Not every night will be the best night of your life. Not every day will your friends be planning an adventure. Not every bad day has to be remembered. It’s okay to not be okay. You are not responsible for the issues other people have. Just love what you have been given and make the necessary changes to make life the best it can be. It’s not easy, but if it were it wouldn’t be worth it.