Peace and relaxation sound different to different people. For me, it’s the resounding hum of the washer. Strange? I know. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that your duties are taking care of themselves. It’s almost therapeutic. All I have to do is load it up, turn a dial, and press a button. Simple. At the end of it all, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much by not actually doing too much on my part. I guess you could say I’m easily fascinated. Also, I’m at my parent’s house, so it’s free!
Let me explain how “laundry” works during the average school year. I have a business relationship with the washing machine on my dorm floor: I debit my laundry card loaded with two dollars in exchange for his services. I get jipped. Every time. The dryer is even worse. By the end of the whole transaction, I have three dollars less in my pocket, and a laundry bag full of clothes that are still slightly damp. For nine months out of the year laundry waits until my underwear drawer is bare, no outfits can be combined from the lone stragglers in my closet, and my wallet actually contains enough cash to put in the machine.I do wash my clothes on a regular basis at college; I know that you were worried there for a minute;)
Now, I’m sure you understand my fascination. You can call me crazy; I call it appreciating what I once took for granted.
Spontaneous, that’s something I am definitely not. I wince at the very thought of someone springing something on me at the very last minute. I’m a planner. I need to know things in advance so I can prepare myself for them.
It’s not my fault. This temperament was ingrained into my very being as a child. Being raised by an ex-Army Ranger meant a lot of things; the first of which was whenever there was a problem, there was always a corresponding reference to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War . My father strongly believed that Ancient Chinese military strategies were the answer to everything, even the menial, mundane monstrosities that face adolescent girls. Growing up, I did not find them to be the most compassionate pieces of advice, or sometimes even remotely applicable. I did, however, remember one thing my father told me: “All battles are won before they are fought.”
The sole thing I did glean from that was that preparation is everything. I know there are people out there who will disagree with me and say that they perform better under pressure. Good for you. I don’t. “Off-the-cuff” has never worked for me. Now for a word from our sponsors: my fellow classmates will remember “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!”
Mornings. They’re rough. I’m definitely not one of those girls that jump out of bed at sunrise ready to embrace the opportunities of a new day. I looked forward to my junior year of college solely because my Jericho contract had “expired”. This meant that I no longer had to deal with adormitorysupervisor “nudging me” out of bed five A.M. every weekday. I was free to ease myself into the morning; start the coffee (vital), arrange my outfit, read my devos andultimately just get ready in peace. Like most people, I have found that mornings are usually easier when you have a routine in place. Doing the same thing every morning just helps me mentally prepare myself for the upcoming day.
Now that I’m home for summer, one of the things I had to work on was keeping a routine. It’s not like I’ve had too much to prepare for, but routines keep me sane. Nine months out of the year I have a set schedule, as much as I wouldn’t admit while I was there…. I like it. I have set hours for school and set hours for work. I’m home now and I really don’t have too many set hours for anything. I know that after reading the first part of this you’re probably surprised to find that I don’t plan out every hour of my summer a week in advance. My days would start off with such good intentions and end one hour of Pinterest browsing, a couple pages of a good book, and three episodes of Mad Men later. It’s never easy to try to do something that requires self-discipline and keep yourself accountable on top of that. With the help of to-do lists and newly implanted (you guessed it!) routine I can make it. I’m getting there, little by little.
“Oh, to be your age again” my mother commented to me the other day. I’m positive she’s not the first mother to look at their 21 year-old daughter and yearn to experience that youth once more.
When my mother looks at me she sees a young woman doesn’t know what it’s like to have crow’s feet, stretch marks or a wedding ring. She sees “fresh starts”. Despite Jennifer Garner’s prayers to be “thirty, flirty and thriving”, I imagine that most people would like to relive their twenties. I mean the store is called Forever 21 right?
That’s just the thing. I have my whole life ahead of me; that’s just as scary as it is exciting. I’m going into my senior year of college this year. A lot can happen in one year, but as of right now I’m not sure where I’m going to be after graduation. There’s no job offers on the table, but graduate school is not looking too appealing at this moment. Moving back home might be the most financially-sound option available; however I’ll be the first to admit that it is definitely not the most desirable alternative to a college graduate seeking to “spread her wings.”
My mother doesn’t remember what the “not-knowing” feels like. I probably won’t remember when I’m her age either; I’ll find myself uttering that same phrase to my daughter as I’m sure has gone on for generations. If everyone is dying to be this age again, I should relish every moment of this coveted stage of life. After all, you’re only young once (unless you’re Dorian Gray;).)
I know we shouldn’t care about the way people view us, but I must confess that it does cross my mind occasionally. As I approach my senior year of college, I think back to what the seniors looked like when I was a freshman; they seemed so “together”. I would listen to them nonchalantly mention student teaching and working, and I just sat there, dreaming about the days when I would be a senior and my life would miraculously fall into place; I would get to speak about these scary, daunting feats in a confident “been there-done that” tone.
Now I am that senior. I look in the mirror and wonder why this wisdom and confidence hasn’t arrived yet. The thought of standing up in front high-schoolers and teaching them anything makes my legs tremble just like it did my freshman year. I’m twenty-one years old, and I have yet to pass my driver’s test; I mean most sixteen year-olds in America have me beat with that one. “There is no way any freshman looks at me and thinks ‘oh man, she’s a senior; she’s got it all figured out’” I think to myself as I still stand in front of the mirror. Maybe there is. I don’t know what people think after all.
“What do people think of me?” I wonder again. As I mentioned earlier I’m aware that what people think of me shouldn’t matter. I know we live in a society that thrives on the “I-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks-of-me” mentality, but you can’t deny human nature. Approval is a basic human need. I mean I just want to live in such a way that when my name comes up in conversation people don’t have a disgusted look on their face. Haha. Then I found the answer.
“Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart; so shalt thou find favor with God and man.” Proverbs 3:3 &4
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7
The reference were a little vague and random, but they spoke to me. This whole time I was looking in the wrong place. It’s not wrong to want approval; it’s wrong to make your decisions based on the approval of others and how they will view you. I should be seeking the approval of God. If in the future there is a girl that looks at me and thinks I have it all together; I will have to tell her my secret: it’s God holding me together by a seam.