Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crack The Shutters

#DailyWings“Peace again! – The exquisite hour before dawn, here at my old desk–seldom have I realized so keenly, appreciated so fully, these still, dark hours.” – Edward Weston

I have always seen this blog as a window into my thoughts and my life, but lately I've kept that window closed. It's been nearly two weeks since my last post, and clicking on "New Post" today was like getting my teeth cleaned and realizing I needed a filling. I finally had to face the neglect my blog has received, but now that I am typing away again, I find myself sighing with relief. Starting is always the hardest part. 

In general, I haven't been writing lately. It's weird how you can love something so much that you're scared to touch or even go near it. Even after two years of blogging, it still takes effort to open this window into who I am, to set aside my fears and actually write stuff that means something to me. 

I sometimes tell people that I can't live without writing, and before it seemed to come out as an exaggerated joke - but I'm beginning to think it's true. These last few weeks have been tough. Lonely. Chock-full of mistakes and regrets. And busy... so terribly busy. I'm surprised I actually survived last week, when every hour was filled with this meeting or that class, and food and sleep were only distant things that existed outside my bubble. My journal was MIA, and the only writing I did consisted of interview transcriptions and class notes and feature stories. Looking back now, not doing any writing for myself was a mistake. 

The good thing is, gray days don't last forever. Long walks in the arboretum are nice. I am lucky to have some of the best friends anyone could ask for. Being busy has kept me from overthinking: Even though research and classes take over most of my waking hours, I wouldn't trade my majors -- journalism and psychology -- for any others. There is just too much fun in learning and discovering something new. And, of course, I have the best followers - my friends, even when my window stays closed for long periods of time you are still here. Lastly, thank God for music. 

Over the months, I noticed that I tend to avoid writing when I don't want to confront myself. Inside, I knew if I opened that window I would see how I was really doing - terrible. Being down in the dumps stinks, and when that realization rises above the surface, it makes the thought that much more real. But at the same time, I am slowly learning that the sun can't light up the room until you crack the shutters open wide.*

Let's just hope I am able to keep that window open from now on. 

How do you bounce back from the blues? Any thoughts on balancing writing with other aspects of your life? 

Wendy Lu

*This phrase is based on one of my favorite songs, Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol. 


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Junior Year Jitters

#DailyWings: "Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual." -Ernet Hemingway

 Better late than never. That's what I have been telling myself lately with everything that I do. Apparently, I just finished my third week of junior year without really knowing it. It feels like a 5k race just started without me or something. But even though junior year has already kicked off and I am officially over halfway through college, I thought I'd take some time today to pat myself on the back for completing sophomore year. For maintaining a solid GPA, making some incredible new friends and building a stronger heart. I realize I am much stronger than I was a year ago. 

At the end of every year since the beginning of college, I have written a letter to my older self. After freshman year was over, I wrote a note to my sophomore self highlighting some guidelines for having a successful semester. Here are a just a few lines I scribbled down as reminders to myself: 

Know your priorities. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. 

Don't be afraid to speak up. Raise your hand. Just do it. There's no better time than now. 

Say hello. The worst thing that could happen is you would have the exact same number of friends before you said hello. The best thing that could happen? You end up with one more friend than you did before.
Smile. No matter what’s going on, there is always a reason to smile. Find it, mull over it, smile about it. If anything—be grateful for what you have. 

Today, I wrote yet another letter to my junior graduate self. Yes, technically I am three weeks late but hey - better late than never, right? In truth, I've procrastinated writing the letter until now because I didn't want to confront all the things that were bugging me about myself. I've been needing a self-confidence booster because, honestly, I still don't know what the heck I want to do with my life. 

Going to one of the best universities in the country can be intimidating. There is so much passion and fervor. Incredible students creating, changing, organizing all the time. It's inspiring. But every once in a while, you can't help but wondering--what am I doing here? 

So the letter I wrote to my junior graduate self said: push yourself. It's never too late to change for the better. Past failures and mistakes don't matter; what counts is what you can do right now at this very moment. I told myself this: 

I can do great things, if only I let myself. I don't need anyone else's approval to do the things that make me happy. 

Maybe not knowing what I want to do after college is okay. Maybe it's better this way. It's certainly better than having my entire life mapped out in front of me, with no surprises or spontaneity. One thing I'm sure of is that the best parts about life usually come in packages that fall at our doorstep when we least expect them. Even though I don't know what I want to do with my life, that means the future is up in the air. Anything can happen. It's scary, but at the same time, there's something exciting about the unknown. I direct myself in the pathway I choose, never knowing what's around the corner. 

What mantras do you have to keep you motivated and focused on your goals? Do you like knowing what's ahead, or do you prefer taking chances as they come your way?

Wendy Lu

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