This summer was hard. I spent most of my days sleeping until noon and most of my nights lying awake, staring at the walls of my little room in the apartment at the back of the Grace Temple Fellowship Church. My roommates went to work while I stayed in bed, thinking about all the things I was not doing and the people I could not see. My friends around the country went on vacations, mission trips or worked professional internships, while I stayed in Searcy with no job, no money and no plans.
I came out of last semester stressed, overworked and just plain sad. I had just returned from studying abroad, and while Searcy welcomed me back with its comfortable arms, everything felt so plain. I took on the heaviest workload I’ve had at Harding, and, on top of that, I performed in and helped direct in my club’s Spring Sing show. All things considered, I spread myself too thin, and because of that, it was quite an undertaking to gather myself up again.
So, that’s what I did this summer. I gathered myself up. I really took care of myself for the first time in months. I paid attention to the things I wanted and needed. I took time to write. I treated myself to a medium “Woodsman” (rest in peace) from Midnight Oil nearly every day. I drove to Nashville to see my best friend when she got back from Latin America. I took time for me. In short, I was selfish, but I think being selfish is OK every once in a while.
Having a selfish summer brought me out of the funk I fell into last semester. I became more comfortable in my own skin. I became more aware of how fortunate I am to have such wonderful friends who lend themselves so easily to being missed. I became a happier version of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all shut down and stop the vacations, the mission trips and the internships; all of those things are so important for the upkeep of our lives. What I’m saying is this: You don’t have to do those things to be fulfilled. It can be difficult not to measure your life by the standard of someone else’s, but your story is a completely different book than theirs, and you’re in a different chapter.
If you didn’t do a thing but learn to be a little kinder to your mother, or a little more aware of the happenings in the world around you, or a little bit better at Photoshop you had a successful summer. Small accomplishments are still accomplishments that could start a snowball toward greater things; a better relationship with your parents, a new appreciation for other cultures, a photography internship. Small steps must be taken in order to travel far, as cliché as that may be. Don’t mourn the adventures you could have had if only you’d left your hometown, but think on the things you did accomplish, and I promise: you’ll be glad you stayed put.