“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~Lao Tzu
I’m a firm believer that life experience creates the best of stories. This may explain why I haven’t posted in so long—there was nothing that I felt I could say that would capture the essence of saying good-bye to a campus I love more than would just a picture on a college brochure. There is nothing I can articulate here about which we don’t all already know: the warm afternoons spent basking under leafy trees, the birds singing like there is no tomorrow, the carefree air that comes with classes ending before impending finals, and the slow realization that this is truly the beginning of the end. My experiences do not feel any more unique than anyone else’s do. To me, the year has felt like a metaphorical run; every day was a sprint of energy followed by happy exhaustion. Now, at just the moment when I pause to catch my breath, I see the finish line up ahead (mind you, I am no runner in real life!).
I struggle to write when I feel that I don’t have much to say. A lot of the time, it seems that my life story, views, and ways of seeing the world are neither exciting nor extraordinary. I am not one of those people who has some amazing story to share every time I see someone; I prefer to share simple stories. For example, one of the highlights of my last few weeks has been merely strolling instead of speed walking to class, enjoying the sunny sky and wearing comfy sandals instead of closed-toed shoes. While lovely, this experience is nothing out of the ordinary. My friends all have wonderfully exciting, amusing, and/or interesting anecdotes to share after a long day, to which I always enjoy listening. In comparison, my life seems plain. My life consists of simple, subtle moments untouched by complexities. Yet I look back now and realize that perhaps this “ordinary” life without complications has led to a gentler, happier me. Enjoying the small moments—a squirrel running through the grass with a massive apple in its mouth, a delicious meal with good friends, another phone conversation with loved ones, the grass tickling my toes as I walk barefoot—have only helped to keep my life in perspective. Perhaps I’m a happy person because of this simplicity.
The idea of simplifying one’s life may be hard to grasp over the next couple of weeks. In the midst of stress, it is understandable that we often forget the importance of appreciating a day for what it has to offer. After exams are over and papers completely written, however, we can head back to our homes with freer minds and try to implement the idea of simplicity into our lives while we are temporarily away from Vassar. For me, simplicity has meant avoiding worrying about events that I cannot control, being in the company of genuine people, and appreciating those moments that I once interpreted as “dull” and “ordinary.” I like to plan and dream, but I don’t envision ever leading a high profile, socially perceived “exciting” life; I’m just a simple person who has embraced the happy beauty of living the ordinary. With this realization, I feel that I have no new story to tell when I get together with friends and family; living every moment of the ordinary has been part of my ongoing, simple story. I urge you to join me in searching for small happiness because one day, that simple moment may actually become the epitome of extraordinary.
Thank you to everyone who has read any of my posts over the semester; I’ve had a wonderful time writing them and I sincerely hope that we all find moments of inspiration great or small, both during the rest of our time here on campus and when we depart after finals. I send many thanks and happy summer wishes to you all!