A few weeks ago, I had my college orientation.
Before I say anything else, I want this to be clear: I am over-the-moon excited to be going to Belmont. The new friends I have made are so so so sweet, and the campus is beautiful, and I could not have picked a better place to go to college. (Once again, my new friends. Are. So. Awesome. You know who you are.)
That being said, when I got in the car with my mom after orientation ended, I burst into tears.
Yes, I cried. Like a little baby. I cried my eyes out, and my mom was confused, because I really had the best time with my new friends. But when she asked why I was crying, all I could say was, “I’m just not ready for college. I’m not ready to leave.”
I know, I know. I’m so lame. I admit it. But believe me, this “not ready to leave” feeling was completely out of the blue. I like being independent, and I always have – my parents can tell you that. I like going grocery shopping by myself, I like driving around alone for hours, I like sitting in coffee shops with my laptop and working on blog posts (ha.) The day my parents dropped me off at the Green Hills Mall with two of my friends for the first time by ourselves was probably the happiest day of my entire grade school career. I got my license the day after I turned 16, and that was only because my birthday was on a Sunday and the DMV wasn’t open then. I have always loved being independent. So this “scared to go to college” feeling was just as much a surprise to me as it was to my mom.
I’ve brought this fear/anxiety up to a few of my friends, and whenever I do, I feel slightly guilty and very inferior, because I’m moving 10 minutes away, and most of them are going 5+ hours away – some of them, 5+ hour plane rides away. I mean, I’ll have the same zip code. And for a while after orientation, that was all I told myself: You need to toughen up. Build a bridge and get over it. This is nothing. You are acting like a child.
But as with most things that start to bother me, it didn’t stop. Every time someone brought up college, my heart beat a little faster. My hands got a little sweaty. Until finally, I realized that maybe instead of ignoring and stifling this fear, I should probably acknowledge that it was there and figure it out. So, my friends, here is what I discovered when I did just that:
In a month and a half, I’ll be moving into a dorm room. It may be in the same city I’ve lived in my whole life, and it may be on a really cool campus with some really cool people. But I am leaving the friends I’ve grown up with. I am leaving the home I’ve grown up in. I’m leaving the pretty yellow house with the big front yard and the playhouse in the back, the house where I once shared a bedroom with two of my sisters and where I wrote my first song and where so many of my friends slept over and raided our cabinets and sat on our counters (but my parents didn’t care because they’re the best ever.) I’m leaving the three dogs that bark too loud at all the neighbors but always get so excited when I walk in the door. I’m leaving my sisters, my 3 built-in best friends. I’m leaving Lauren, who drove me crazy when we rode to school together but is the most genuine person I know and is always just across the hall when I need advice on an outfit. I’m leaving Anna, who I can always count on to make me laugh and to still be awake when I get home late at night so that we can take funny snapchat vids and watch The Office together. I’m leaving Lilly, who thinks I’m the coolest thing ever because I’m the oldest and pretty much runs this family even though she’s 9 years old. And I’m leaving my parents, who listened to me cry a million times and sat through countless voice recitals and softball games and dance shows. Even though there were times I thought I wouldn’t (because I’m a teenager, of course)… I’m going to miss them like crazy. Pretty much everything blessing I have, I owe to them.
So, there it is. I’m leaving pretty much everything I’ve ever known. And frankly, I’m terrified. Change is exciting and adventurous and fun, but change is scary as heck. It’s sad, too. It’s sad to know that the memories I’ve made in this house will remain, but that the memories I will continue to make in this house are numbered.
All right, so there has to be a happy ending to this story, right? There has to be some revelation that everything is going to be okay and that college could very well, and will most likely be, the time of my life, right? Haha, you know me, friends. Of course there is.
On the last day of CMA Fest, I took my new roommate downtown to show her around a little and to see Old Dominion at the Riverfront. If any of you have ever been to a CMA Fest show at the Riverfront, you know this: it’s miserably hot, there is absolutely nowhere you can move without bumping into a sweaty old man with his shirt off or a woman wearing a tank top that says “Country BOY Shake It For Me” and a cowboy hat, and it’s hard to even hear the music with all of this going on around you. That said, I did my best, because I just really love Old Dominion. And I heard a song called, “Song for Another Time.” I leaned over to my roomie Julia and said, “What song is this? I’ve never heard it.” She told me, and I forgot about it for a little while, until I was in my car a few days later. The title had stuck with me, so I looked it up and listened to it. And yes – you guessed it, I cried.
If you’ve heard the song, you are most definitely laughing at me, because it’s a fun, upbeat country song that you can jam to in your car with the windows down. But it was just 110% what I needed to hear right then. And ever since, it’s been my summer anthem.
No, I don’t just love it because it says “Sweet Caroline” in the chorus. I love it because of pretty much every line in the song. Living in the moment has never been easy for me, but somehow, this song makes it easier.
The song is about a relationship, but it applies to really anything. It talks about a relationship that is coming to an end soon, but instead of dwelling on that and singing a bunch of sad breakup songs, it focuses on the now and a lists a bunch of happy, good-time songs.
So before we turn into I Can’t Make You Love Me / Let’s be Brown-Eyed Girl, Sweet Caroline / Free-Fallin’, Small Town Saturday Night… / Pretty soon, I’ll be So Lonesome I Could Cry / But that’s a song for another time
And so, ever since I heard this song, that’s what I’ve been trying to be: Brown-Eyed Girl, Sweet Caroline, Free-Fallin’, Small-Town Saturday Night. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I’ll be packing up my things in a month and a half, I am doing my very best to be where my feet are – not where they’re going to be in a month and a half. Sure, it’s great to be aware of what lies ahead and plan for the future. But not at the expense of the present. I can’t remember the exact quote, but the other day, my “Jesus Calling” book said something along the lines of, “You are only given enough strength to handle today’s worries, not tomorrow’s too.”
So I’ve done my best to do those two things this summer: focus on the now, and only carry the worries of the present. Hence, the reason I haven’t posted a blog yet this summer: I’ve been busy trying to make memories and enjoy this last summer with so many people I love. The picture at the top of this post is one I took while at the beach last week, and it’s a picture I will probably cherish for the rest of my life. Lauren, Anna, two of our best friends and I got up at 5:00 to watch the sunrise on the last day of our trip. Of course, it was pouring rain and there seemed to be no way we could see the sunrise. We were already up, though, so we fixed our coffee and walked out onto the dock outside our condo and just sat there. And sure enough, the clouds parted, and it was honestly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. I know, I’m such a girl, and that’s probably so cheesy, but it wasn’t just the sunrise – it was the moment. When that Sun came up, the five of us were silent (if you know us, that’s incredibly rare.) I can’t explain it, it was just like we didn’t need words – God was speaking to each of us. It was almost like I could hear Him saying, “It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be just fine. Just be here, with Me, right now.”
And for once in my life, I was there – completely and totally there. I wasn’t worried about having to drive on the interstate the next day (which still scares me), I wasn’t worried about the fact that it might rain on our last beach day, and I wasn’t worried about starting college. All I cared about was God, that sunrise, and the four people beside me. And it was a moment I’ll never forget.
If you’re worrying about an upcoming change in your life – well, don’t. The time will come; as I wrote in a song the other day, “Life goes on, even if you don’t want it to.” But you will totally rob today of its joys if you focus on the fears of tomorrow. I’ve listed a lot of the negatives in this post of this big change in my life coming up; I’m aware that I probably haven’t properly explained how excited I am. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, of excitement and stress and joy and fear and thankfulness and anxiousness and openness. And that will probably remain until weeks after I move into my dorm room. I’ll probably have some really fun nights with my new friends during which I forget why I was ever worried, and I’ll probably give into the fear a few times too and get homesick.
But, my dear friends, that is a song for another time.
Happy summer, and thank you times a million for reading my thoughts and ramblings. It means the world to me. God loves you so much,