“Nothing stays the same.”
I’m pretty sure this is the only phrase that can evoke glorious relief and crippling anxiety all at once. Undeniably, no matter where you are in your life; at your highest highs and your lowest lows, everything about your situation will inevitably change. It’s a mantra that can be repeated during tough times, and a lingering thought that tends to pop up in my head whenever things seem to be going too well. Constant change is a concept with which I’m still grappling as a sophomore in college, when it feels as though I’m finally comfortable in Ann Arbor and finally comfortable with myself.
My whole world could fall apart tomorrow, but tomorrow could also be the best day of my life.
And, to be honest, I’m 20 f***ing years old – I don’t want my life to change that much. I love eating cheesy bread at 2 AM after too many rounds of tequila shots with my best friends, and, although it can be terrifying, I love the idea of having my whole life in front of me. I love living in the same house with 60 of the most wonderful girls I’ve ever met; I love my fierce independence and my ability to eat frozen yogurt three times a week and still fit into my leather skirt by Saturday night. I love that feeling when I finish a paper an hour before it’s due, heart beating out of my chest cause the last sentence is exactly how it’s supposed to be and I’ve had at least three cups of Starbucks cold brew. I love sleeping in until noon on weekends, binge-watching “Shameless,” and hiding out in coffee shops where no one recognizes me and time is measured in chapters of my current novel. Who I am right now, this really feels like me.
But then again, it always feels like that doesn’t it? It always feels like you’re as strong as you’re ever going to be until you’re forced to be stronger. It always feels like you’ve done your best until you’ve done better. And yeah, it makes my stomach drop, but I know that there are people I haven’t met yet who will change everything – there are mistakes to be made, battles to be won, pictures to be taken, hearts to be broken, jokes to be made, songs to be listened to, and dreams to be realized. Change is the only thing you can rely on; nothing about your life will stay the same, no matter how hard you try to prevent change, it will find you and it will flip everything upside down. So, I’ve learned to enjoy the view.
Change could also be a beacon of hope for those of you going through hell; the fact that your life will get better, not in a cheesy greeting card kind of way, but that it just will, the fact that it’s bound to, is something so comforting. If you’re like me, and you read “Nothing stays the same” as a sign of some impending doom, I think we need to chill out a bit. Or at least I do. Because, yeah, my whole world could fall apart tomorrow, but tomorrow could also be the best day of my life. This period of my life is pretty damn fun, but who’s to say this happiness isn’t just a fraction of what’s to come? Leave some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
My friends and I always joke about how we’re “peaking,” about how these are the best years of our lives and we’ll never be this young again. It does seem silly, though, to believe that we’ve done all this changing, all this growth, to culminate at 20 years old. Change still scares the hell out of me, but it scares me in the same way that my future scares me – it’s scary knowing there isn’t a limit to what you can accomplish, it’s scary knowing that this is just the beginning. But it’s also absolutely intoxicating.