New year, and that means doing some closet cleaning. You know how that goes…baby clothes, costumes, toys, and the occasional miscellaneous beach bag you only used once. It all needs to be purged, organized, and eliminated from the chaos we call “life.” But in one of the items I was cleaning out, I discovered some journals from my college days. Oh my, how great it was to walk back down memory lane with my college self, and all the immature selfishness that goes along with this period in one’s life.
So what was happening in the mind of an 18 year old college student at Vanderbilt University? Well, stress is one of the common threads in my journal. I talk about the stress of classes, the stress of trying to fit into a world I didn’t think I belonged. The stress of trying to keep relationships going, but watching them crumble. I read about heartache over the loss of family members and frustration with may parents, whom I felt were dictating to me how I needed to live over the two-state distance. I also read about a desire for more confidence and the need to figure out who I wanted to become while living away from home for the first time in my life.
If you have never had the chance to step back into your 18-year-old self, I am sad for you. It is comical, but also a bit disheartening. It will humble you in a flat second too. Because now, as a 39-year-old woman, I realize the things that seemed so major at that time in my life were actually small in scale compared to the challenges I would face in my more adult lifetime. But I also see some beauty in this method of self-reflection. I can get a glimpse into how my daughter might think of things when she is this age. I see how my son could get frustrated at me as a parent when he goes to college. This journal might be a flash to the past for me, but it is also a peek into the future for two children who are very much like me, although still very different. I am thankful for having a sort of “crystal ball” into parenting my children. The things I wrote about the people around me, whether they were fellow college student or my own parents driving me crazy, spans the test of time. Behaviors will remain the same, even though circumstances will greatly change. Yes, my kids will face different battles than me because their world is totally different than the world I lived in during 1997. And yet, common human behaviors and natures will still be there. So maybe this little “God Wink” of mine is a tool I can keep for future use.
I plan to read some of my entries to my 11-year-old daughter because I want her to understand it’s okay to be frustrated with me, but that I am doing what I do for her best interest. And perhaps it will inspire her to start more journaling of her own so she has an avenue to vent out frustrations about life, flesh out personal thoughts, or just rant on how annoying I am as a mother.
Floating down memory lane today made me laugh a little, tear up a bit for lives that are now over, but most of all actually feel very proud of the person I have become. The person God has made me into, and the character I have worked so hard to preserve and grow over the years. Here’s hoping you get to find our own version of Memory Lane, and to take that time to do some good self-reflection. And to take the time to relish in the good and the maybe not-so-good about your own life. Remember, healthy living is always about looking inward and finding what you love and what you want to change.
Happy New Year everyone…Cheers!