Since sophomore year was easily the best of my life thus far, I expected it to end with a bang, or at least with a good cry. Instead, my room was packed up in no time at all, and I hugged my seven roommates goodbye without shedding a single tear. As my mom’s minivan pulled out of the Vandy parking lot, I wondered if my lack of sentimentality was just denial. But almost two weeks later, the tears still haven’t come.
I've decided to chalk it up to my newfound predilection for living in the moment. Twenty years old and significantly wiser than when I left for BC (at least I’d like to think so), I have learned to take change in stride. In spite of all the bad news, embarrassing moments and awkward encounters of the past year, I somehow surrounded myself with incredible people, reaped the benefits of hard work and experienced love in endless ways.
In the fall, things will be different again when many of my friends scatter across the globe on study abroad adventures. However, I’m not looking forward to returning to BC any less. In fact, I’m not worrying about the plethora of changes that I’ll be bombarded with for the next few years at all. Through trial and error, I’ve figured out that the best way to handle the unpredictable is to stop trying to. Living day by day makes change a lot less intimidating so that, when you reach a turning point, there’s nothing left to fear at all but the next day.
This goes for not living in the past as well. Home from college, it's easy to get sentimental about the “golden days” of high school (if they can even be called that). Instead of falling back into the comfortable niche that our eighteen-year-old selves fit into, I’ve found it infinitely more rewarding to experience my life at home through the eyes of a 20-year-old college kid. For example, I spent last week tackling the museum that is my closet. I unearthed countless Abercrombie tees and hideously bedazzled dresses, which I then promptly donated and/or burned. To make sure that life is tailored to the current versions of ourselves, we need to stop hanging on to things that no longer fit us.
The reality of life is that I don’t really know what's going to happen two days from now, let alone in a few months or a few years. But right now, I do know who I am, what I value and who I care about. Right now, I need a chic suit for my internship, not my favorite outfit from 8th grade. I need to stay in with my family every once in awhile instead of going out. I need to call my friends from school without worrying that I won’t see them for a while.
I’m ready to let sophomore year become a collection of memories. Fun, ridiculous, sentimental, important memories that I will carry with me for a long time, but memories just the same. I’m ready to shed the parts of my life that have come to their natural end, and to keep growing and changing, minute-by-minute. What I will hold close are the people and things that still bring me joy, because happiness is something never to be compromised. The only difference is that, contrary to what I thought before, happiness doesn’t exist as a single person or place or finite moment in time. Instead, it’s a feeling that can arise from the most unlikely of circumstances, and it’s best experienced in the present.