I’m probably one of the most boring college students around.
Today was just not a good day for me overall and I just want to sleep. My birthday is tomorrow, and I’m not even a little excited. Happy spring break.
I will paint it blue.
My mind has been anywhere but here today. It’s been on hot, dry marching fields and rundown gas stations in the Upper Peninsula. It’s been running up sky-kissing sand dunes and taking in the green blue water in Leland along a wooden sidewalk interrupted with giant cottonwood trees. It’s been in Megan’s car looking at mountain’s racing past and crossing the Mighty Mac for the first time in a hot, sticky bus going north. It’s even been to the magical world of Disney working 40 hours a week some semester. It’s been standing in line at an overrun Burger King listening to Arlo yell about cardboard crowns and climbing tirelessly to the highest point of Mackinac Island in flip flops and sundresses with Maisie and Emily. It’s been stopping on the side of the road with my dad to take pictures of a sign in the woods and on the lake for hours with my mother and little brother. IT’s been roaring though the woods on a gulf cart and under Maisie’s bed writing notes about the leftovers. It’s been aimlessly driving through the backroads with Brodie trying to figure out where we are on hot summer midnights.
Yes, my mind has been a lot of places today. None of them have been here.
Today, my psychology lecture was optional. II went anyway. My professor has a way of making the class feel as if it’s something you might purchase a ticket for and eagerly sit on your seat waiting for, something you leave feeling mentally stretched further than before you entered- or maybe I’m just a nerd.
Anyway, the lecture was optional. It was not testing material. We were warned it might be preachy.
But I will say that it left me inspired. My professor, in short, told us to stop buying what’s given to us in school at face value. He told stories of designing majors that didn’t exist for various students because their interests weren’t yet supported by predetermined infrastructure. He told us to stop focusing so much on time- to stop trying to cram 5 1/2 years of true education into 4 years of school. He told us to stop working ourselves to death at minimum wage jobs only to struggle through the very education we are trying to support while we spend so much on frivolities like expensive new clothes and cell phone plans for businessmen. He asked us to read deeply. He asked us to have lasting experiences. And most importantly, he told us to be selfish. To take classes that have nothing to do with your major according to a life map someone handed you at orientation. To work towards an end goal you can find satisfying. To ignore what others might plan or expect for your future (if your parents loved you before you changed to an English, business, whatever major, they will love you after, too). A term that you wasted learning you absolutely hated a possible career was not wasted.
I do not know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I don’t really intend on figuring that out in college as I was did. When I land my first career, I still don’t want to know. People, especially this generation, change careers. We grow, we experience, and we decide what was once enough is no longer. I am far more satisfied in accepting this as a fact than I believe I ever would be with one sole career. The pre made American dream is not enough for me. I want more than a white picketed, pasted smile, two car life.
My dad has stories. As much as I may tire of hearing some of the famous repeats- senior prank, beer in the pop machines, I can even show you where it was in Flushing High School- I admire many of them. From taking classes in Chicago to attending the Detroit Tigers’ fantasy camp to illegally taking a trip to the Bahamas, I’m hearing more as I get older, and I want to have memories. I want have adventures. My dad kept having adventures. I want that. I want to tell my kids about how I lived out of a suit case as a performer for a few summers and saw the country over the arms of a drum major and through the silk of a flag. I want to tell them about my adventures in Disney, Mackinac, or wherever else I took internships that gave me a chance to get outside. And maybe later, I want to tell them about how I broke my bank for every damn season, how I relied on a city bus for years, and how it was so worth it. I want to write stories that make someone feel a little more valuable on their lowest days. I want to talk about dipping my toes in Lake Superior on a shore when 28 men lost their lives one cold November. I want to talk about how I told that story time and time again on field after field, yet no performance was more rewarding than a standstill at Whitefish Point where an 8- year old woman who ran the museum’s film wrote us a thank you note on a napkin to express her gratitude. I want to tube down rivers and jump off high ledges. I want to feel heat in new cities. I want.
I don’t know where to end, so I’ll just say this: I’m inspired. I refuse to let pre made molds keep me from goals and dreams that are not directly related to that white-picket fence. I will paint it blue.