An update post has been something I’ve been throwing around in my mind for quite some time now. In retrospect, what’s been stopping me has been my own fears that I won’t do it justice. It’s been almost two years since I left Germany. Somehow, even though the phrase is overused, it feels like yesterday.
To be honest, I doubt much of what I’ll be telling you is totally unexpected. My exchange year made me stronger, more open, and gave me a sense of family I had searched for since my childhood.
I’ll be real though, the things I learned on exchange seemed much more apparent in the immediate months following my return to the States. I suppose after so much time passing, they are so much engrained in me that I no longer notice their presence. This being said, I will share the things that have stuck after several years:
1.Life is too short to do anything, ANYTHING that you don’t want. To put it bluntly, obligation just doesn’t exist in my world post-exchange. There’s too much that I want to do, and not enough (when you actually think about it) barriers to me doing so, for me to care too much. Exceptions could be getting myself "edumacted" at college, which will live on as the biggest obligation I have succumbed to.
2.Don’t fight the things or people that can’t or won’t change. There will always be situations, whether temporary or permanent, that cause you pain, but trying to change them will only hurt you. The best you can do is to accept unfairness, unkindess, or straight up shit you just don’t wanna deal with, and sometimes, if you can, learn to laugh about it.
3.I read a quote that basically sums up this lesson, and it goes something like this: If you want something you’ve never had, you’re going to have to do something you’ve never done. It’s hard to accept in some situations that God doesn’t make a hobby out of your unhappiness, but rather in some circumstances finding your own peace means getting out of your comfort zone and accepting that it’s something you are doing that’s keeping you from what you want.
4.Lastly, do stupid stuff. I can’t emphasize enough how doing stupid things keeps my sanity. Although I seem uptight at first, hang out with me long enough and I’m bound to make an ass out of myself for not only the entertainment of other people, but for myself. There are too many serious things in this world, that it’s important to take advantage of times when you can just let go.
That’s about the extent to my 19 year old wisdom. Aside from that, I’m content being clueless about basically anything else.
As a short, less philosophical follow-up, in the past two years I’ve graduated from high school and am almost done my first year at George Washington University studying anything that doesn’t make me write papers. I registered as an AFS volunteer my first week back, and have since met some of the most hardworking, fabulous volunteers and students that are out there. They provide me with a steady flow of inspiration and laughter. I have seen my host family twice since 2010 and plan on studying abroad again in South Africa, but other than that try to prevent myself from much planning.
It still goes that anyone with questions is free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve enjoyed the random emails over the past years.
My host family visiting West Chester this past Summer.