When I tell people I’m in college, they often respond with something like, “Enjoy it, because it’s the best four years of your life.” They talk about the drudgery of work or the burden of adult responsibilities, as if it’s all down hill from here. And honestly, I used to believe them. The future no longer seemed like an exciting adventure, but a gloomy fate. I was terrified of wasting my time in college and put pressure on myself to be happy all the time.
Then one day someone said something that changed my outlook entirely. They said, “I didn’t get married in college. I didn’t hold my new born children in college. I didn’t achieve professional success or buy my first house in college. I didn’t achieve the sweetness of financial independence and stability in college. I didn’t garner a deep understanding of my self in college, and I certainly didn’t learn how to love other people well in college.”
This answer made so much sense to me. There’s no such thing as the best time of your life. Every season has it’s ups and downs and it’s naive to think otherwise. Every season of life has pros and cons, challenges and rewards. I’m often tempted to look back on my year in abroad in Heidelberg as the pinnacle of my existence, but I realize now how absurd that is! It’s okay to look back on a particular season with nostalgia and fondness, but try not to over romanticize it either.
College is great, no ones arguing that! But it’s also incredibly stressful and uncertain and full of huge decisions. It’s not perfect. There is so much still to look forward to in life. I can’t wait to experience every single stage of life: young professional, girlfriend, fiancé, newly wed, new mom, established writer, grandmother– the list goes on and on. How lucky are we to get to play so many roles?
Let’s all try to see whatever stage we’re in as a gift, fleeting but precious.
P.s. Photo via here