An ode to my younger self

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been walking around campus thinking about how much of my childhood I devoted to thinking about this period of my life. I always dreamed — and worried — about where I would end up for college, what I would be studying and if I would be happy.I am happy to report that I am at my dream school studying something I love, and I am the happiest I have ever been.

Mandile Mpofu | Senior Graphic Artist

I’ve lived a lot of my life doing things in order to make my younger self proud, and I think that 6-year-old, wide-eyed me would be more than proud to see where I am today. 

So, I’d like to write a small ode to her and tell her of all the things I wish someone had told me.

Breathe. Literally and figuratively. 

Stop holding your breath while watching TV. I promise whatever you’re watching is not that serious. But, figuratively, breathe as well. Please remember to take deep breaths often. It makes a world of a difference that you probably don’t even realize. It can help put whatever you’re ruminating about into perspective and help you see that it really is going to be okay. 

Romanticize the mundane.

I know the homework you’re doing seems tedious, and that clearing the table after dinner seems like an endless chore — but romanticize it all. Look fondly upon even the most mundane of tasks, because you’ll never have that moment again. 

I have to remind myself of this one now, too, but I tell myself to remember that I’ll never experience this exact event again in this exact place in this exact moment in time ever again, so I have to make the most of it!

Listen to your mom!

Okay, I know that everyone says this, but really, you should listen to her. You look great in that shirt, don’t be best friends with that person and wear a scarf when it’s cold — no matter how silly you think it looks. She always has your back, even when you don’t have your own. 

Laugh a little longer, hug a little tighter and love a little harder. 

Allow yourself to feel all that you absolutely can in each moment you have. As humans, we have this vast capacity to feel all of these different emotions and have connections with other beings which is amazing, unique and a little terrifying all at the same time. 

So laugh a little longer with your closest friends, hug your sisters a little tighter and love your family a little harder. You never know who might not always be there, so appreciate each moment you do get to have with them. 

There’s beauty in spontaneity. 

I know that you want everything to be planned to a T. From the moment you walk in somewhere, each minute needs to be pre-approved just so you know what’s coming next. 

But I really just want to tell you that some of the best memories we’ve made over the years, and just in the last few months here, have been from moments that could have never been planned. 

So say yes to going for that drive, visiting that farmer’s market or going to that concert. I promise you won’t regret it. 

It’ll all work out. 

I got this one from a Phoebe Bridgers song that I really like. Please stop worrying about what will happen tomorrow so that you can live today. You’ll miss an entire world of things happening right front of you if you continue looking ahead. 

You’re definitely shaving years off of our life just from all of the time we’ve spent worrying about the future and what it has in store for us. But what I’ve come to learn is the best parts of the future are things that I could have never even imagined. 

There are so many other tidbits I wish someone would have told me, but at the same time, I’m happy I had to figure it out along the way, or else I probably would not have ended up where I am today.

And this is only the beginning. 

It’s only the first semester of freshman year, and I have so much more life to live. I hope I look back at this ode in the future, and get to tell my 18-year-old self what I wish I would have known. 

There is so much to be said about growing up and gaining an endless reservoir of knowledge, but I’ll let my future self tackle that one. I cannot wait to see what this next chapter of life has in store for me and what I will one day get to teach my younger self about next. 

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