Dear Freshmen Me,
I know time travel isn't a real thing - yet - but maybe my life will suddenly turn into the movie The Lakehouse and I can somehow get this letter to you. As I approach the last weeks of my college career, talking with friends in the same boat as me, I've said many times "if I could just tell freshmen me this". So here it is: then things I wish someone would have told me when I was a freshmen.
I'm sure in four more years, I'll write another letter to you about what I wish I knew as a college senior. But for now, enjoy this life because it's over before you know it. You can't these days back.
I believe in you, and I believe in your future. Hold on sister, it'll all be okay.
Congratulations! You are a curious enough person that you decided to click on this link and maybe broaden your horizons a bit. I hope you find something here you can connect with and relate to.
This is the first post of what I hope will be many about my long, slow, and interesting journey to minimalism. I've been reading about minimalism since I started college in 2013. It has always held this interest for me because it seemed like a lifestyle I had no chance of being a part of. I would get inspired on a random weekend and clean out my closet, only to go thrifting the next week and fill it back up with things I didn't need or really even want - like that green tie-dye shirt with a kitten on it. In those first two years of college, not only did I commit major crimes of fashion, but I spent money that could have been put to better use in savings or a travel fund.
Fast forward to September 6th, 2015. I was twenty four hours out from leaving the country for four and a half months and trying to fit all my precious things into my suitcase(s) and bags. I had to be able to carry it all with me. And guess what? I did it. And when I got back in December, I had carried things across the world that didn't get worn, read, or used at all. I was too busy having the experiences of a lifetime to think about maintaining all these things. I learned that I could live with a lot less.
Fast forward to now. I'm thirteen weeks away from graduating college. I have no idea what lies after graduation concerning a job, where I will live, how my life will look at all. This uncertainty is a whole other blog post, and I'm trying hard not to think about it. But one thing I do know about this very uncertain time in my life is that I own too many things. I own too many things that hold guilt, or sad memories, or hold no value at all. I spend entirely too much time in my life organizing and cleaning and maintaining things that serve no real purpose in my life. They are excess things and I simply don't have time to deal with these excess things anymore.
The idea of this post started as a listicle of why I want to be a minimalist; the list got long but with each reason it boiled down to this truth:
I want to be minimalist so that I can shift my mental, emotional, and spiritual focus
And that, my friends, is where I will leave you. I will keep the specifics of what led me to this statement to myself. You now know why, and in the weeks to come you will know the how. How am I minimizing my life? What do I think adds value my life? What books/articles and I reading, what TED Talks am I listening to, and videos am I watching that help me understand what minimalism is and what is means to different people?
This lifestyle change isn't about less things; it's about more life.
You aren't used to me be being your single friend. For so long, I was the friend you tagged along with on date nights. I backed out of our plans because my boyfriend suddenly had a clear schedule. I didn't even make those plans with you without asking him first. Every conversation you had with me, I managed to bring him up. I was the "we" friend. You know - “we" went to the store, "we" tried that restaurant, "we" watched that on Netflix. You made bets with our friends about how many times I would bring up "him" or "we" the next conversation you had with me.
But as Michael Scott would say, "How the turntables". Now, you don't mention your Friday night plans because you know it involves another couple. I make plans with you and you say "we" are on the way. I keep my schedule free just in case you call. There is always another single strategically planted in the group so I won't feel so left out.
But friend, know this: I am grateful for the eggshells you tread on, for the hesitation in your voice when the conversation turns to boys and romance. I'm thankful that you make sure to tell me that you love me, that you think I'm great. Truthfully, you're better has the attached friend than I ever was.
I am thankful that you don't let me settle. I am thankful that you would rather see me single and waiting than attached and miserable. You know me better than I know myself. You know I need a little romance, some swooning; a travel buddy that will wake up early for breakfast; someone that eat all the things I *try* to cook. You also know I need someone that will call me out and say, "Grigg, you're not trying hard enough, I know you can do better", like you have so many times before. And I will always need you. I will need you to remind me of what I deserve, and what I don't. Don't think I want someone to replace you, because that's impossible.
What's the point of this letter? It isn't to make you pity me. It isn't to make you feel bad that you're not single and I am. This letter is tell you that no matter the guys that come into either of our lives, I will always be your friend and I hope you will always be mine.
So I will try to limit my late night texts and calls; I will let you go with your boyfriend to that move I really wanted to see because I know, it’s date night; I will not comment on how much I dislike your public displays of affection; I will be diligent in sending embarrassing SnapChats of you to your guy without your consent. Most importantly, I will respect anyone that has the gusto and energy to date you because let’s be honest – if you are friends with me, you are a little wacky.
And about these guys you bring around. I have to commend you, you have great taste and a good judge of character. You pick guys that help me up the stairs after foot surgery; you pick guys that ensure me that yes, so-and-so is a jerk; guys that don aprons and gloves to wash dishes after Friendsgiving; and guys that help put together furniture because I contribute to that gender stereotype. Thank you for bringing more friends into my life.
Lastly, thank you for your never ending encouragement. I know that right now I can’t see the forest for the trees, and I am really whiny some days; but your encouragement is constant and always sincere. I have hope for myself because you have hope for me.
How does a girl get so lucky to have friends like you?
Your Single Friend.