Leave room for life: A letter to yourself

By Jason Harland

Hey, it’s me – you. I miss you, well “us” really. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate right now, and a conversation with me doesn’t necessarily fit in your schedule, but while you’ve been worrying about our future, I’ve been worrying about our present. I think there’s something you should know: you’re freaking awesome.

I’m proud of us. Give yourself a pat on the back – not in public knucklehead. Don’t embarrass me. Really though, it’s time to give yourself some damn credit. I’ll be frank, college life is hard – alright it sucks – it’s not like “Van Wilder” or “American Pie” at all, but we’re here and we can still make our story a box office smash. Consider this part of our life as the second act, which tends to drag in most stories, but then comes act three, the climax and resolution. I hope you’re ready with the popcorn.

I know you feel like you’re balancing spinning plates while walking a tight rope in a pink tutu – I’ve seen our nightmares – but this is only temporary. School and work are equally annoying right now, but it’s not like you’re doing all of this for fun.

You’re busting your ass, and it’s not in vain.

A survey by CareerBuilder found that 39 percent of workers ages 18-24 and 44 percent of workers ages 25-34 have a second job. You and those plates will make it to solid ground soon.

So, it took you this long to get through college – big deal. National Student Clearinghouse found only 54.8 percent of students graduate within six years, and 63.1 percent of students from Cal Poly Pomona are doing just that. I know you’re itching to get out. Relax.

After all, you were in school for 13 years prior to this, so consider yourself a well-seasoned scholar of sorts. At least you’re through with your awkward phase – not a good time for us.

Oh, check this out – a Georgetown University study found we’re going to make 1 million more in our lifetime for hanging tough and graduating.

You’ll thank me later when you’re enjoying your last slice of two-day old Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready pizza in a $1,500-a-month studio in Newport Beach, Calif. I’m joking, we’ll be able to afford Pizza Hut – I think.

OK so I know I’ve been throwing a lot of numbers your way and you’re probably thinking, “fact check, fact check, fact check,” but I also took the liberty of remembering some important things our friends told us.

I know they can help me get through to us.

By the way, we’ve got some great friends who love us, not just the ones on social media who you compare yourself to – stop doing that – I call bullshit on their perfect life with their perfect bod, job, house, yacht, dinosaur, etc. Everybody goes through hard times and no Insta filter can mask that.

Reeyannah said, “Not every day is going to be beautiful and filled with sunshine – cause it’s not – but in those days, you learn things that make you who you are. Everything happens for a reason.”

Nobody said this would be easy, but while life switches to difficult mode, you level up – you get harder, better, faster and stronger.

See, this is the beauty of aging – your experiences put a chip on your shoulder when life leaves a flaming bag of poop on your doorstep.

Life is pretty hilarious sometimes, and by hilarious, I mean a terrible dad joke that seems completely stupid at first, but eventually makes you laugh because of how stupid it really is. Don’t let your sense of humor be compromised by a few tasteless jokes. Maybe you just need time to get it.

“Remember that no matter how hard things get, how frustrated you are with yourself, you can always put on some music and dance, or spend time with friends and laugh,” Natalie said.

I know you have your moments where you close us off to the rest of the world, but you also close us off to the opportunity to make things better.

Be nice to yourself, and be nice to the people around you because you never know what impact today might have on tomorrow.

“Regardless of who you feel like you are, you should take one moment of every day where you completely break down every wall you have and just be genuine, kind and loving to someone you don’t know and you’ve never met,” Angelica said.

Contrary to your belief right now, there’s more to life than this moment – there’s more life to come. It’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to seek help.

Being healthy doesn’t just mean going to the gym and eating vegetables. Love yourself and love your mind – the resources are available. Don’t be scared. I’ll go with you.

Cezanne said, “I constantly remind myself that the sun in my life will come out eventually, also that I am strong enough to be patient for the good days and learn the most from the bad days.”

I’m only telling you all of this because I love you. I’m not crying, I’ve just been up all-night writing this for you, so my eyes are just constantly watery like this.

You’re going to hate me sometimes, but I won’t hate you back. Appreciate me. We’re really quite the pair, you and I.

We will never be as young as we are right now. Remember, there’s also a deadline for life, so take the time to work on living it.

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