Well, this is it. My last post in your university year. I was going to write something about resilience with an epic reference to the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind that I’m sure you’ve probably never heard of, let alone seen. But as time past, it seemed prosaic and I decided against it. So, I’m left with a list.
1. Know who you are. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that comes automatically with age and even if you know now, chances are you will change many, many times. But it’s a good idea to check in every once and a while. What are you doing? What makes you happy, and what do you want out of life?
2. Embrace your stage. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to realize that every stage of life holds its own beauty. Embrace where you are – enjoy the good that comes and the things that are unique: the freedom of schedule, the perk of parents covering at least some expenses, the endless opportunity of what kind of career you could have. Chances are it will never come again – unless you go back to university when you’re 33. Hey, weirder things have happened.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Every once in a while, I’m reminded (through circumstance) of what really matters – friends, family, safety, health. Maybe that backpack on the floor wasn’t important enough to yell over. Maybe I shouldn’t have yelled at that driver, or made that comment online. We could all stand to calm down a little. You’ll be healthier and happier.
4. Keep learning. I know when we finish a school year, we are so tired we don’t even want to look at books. And Netflix is so tempting. But please. Develop a lifestyle of learning. Think through popular issues, what your culture and parents have told you, what the politicians say. If we all do this – think before reacting and deciding – the world will be a better place. And we’ll be kinder, more understanding people. Isn’t that what Canada’s supposed to be about?
5. You are enough. I come from a culture that has this idea that grown-up life starts when you’re married. And I’ve watched many people go through their lives, looking for that person to complete them, sometimes never finding them (missing the beauty of their single stage as they look). It’s like life passes them by as they wait. Let me say that I love my partner, and being married. But it is not the only way to be, nor the only way to have a fulfilling life. We need relationships, but they don’t have to be romantic. Find your community, embrace yourself – your likes, dislikes and passions. You will never be completed by another person. You may be complimented, but you are complete in yourself. You are enough.
6. Keep on. You know, as much as my life has been easy (aka, full of privilege), it’s still had its moments. Moments where I didn’t know what would happen to my family, when I didn’t know where rent was coming from, where I didn’t know if I would make it through. Life is going to get rough. What will you do? How will you respond? I hope you’ve had a great year – learned a lot and made new friends. But maybe it’s been rough, with its own moments. Keep on. You can do this – this beautiful, terrible thing called life. You have community. If you need support, reach out. We’re all in this together.
Well folks. That’s it. Take it or leave it – advice from one person to another. It’s been real. Look me up sometime. I love a good coffee.
B.Com., Class of 2018