So this is the post about ending the semester and turning twenty that I promised last week.
I’m writing at an interesting time, in between several endings and beginnings. The semester, my teen years, and 2015 are all coming to an end, but I have next semester, my young adulthood (!!), and 2016 to look forward to. For now, while existing in this gray area, I’m choosing to look backward.
The past semester moved by so quickly that I couldn’t stop and think about the big picture: how this semester compares to last semester, how the way I am now compares to myself last year. Now that I’m in this lull, I can see my patterns over the semester and understand how I changed during it. And what I’ve noticed is that it all boils down to two expletive-heavy phrases: fuck it, and fuck this.
At first glance this seems like a horribly or at least wildly inappropriate for young audiences, but trust me, these two phrases are what made my sophomore year so much more enjoyable that last year. Allow me to explain:
Fuck it: This means just going for it. You know those times when you have a set plan or habit – I’m going to stay in tonight, I’ll go to the dining hall like always, I’ll text my friends – and suddenly you’re side-swept by another option – there’s a party tonight, your friends want to eat in town, you get a Facebook message from a stranger? At those moments of decision between comfortable and risky, sometimes saying “fuck it” and turning off the list of negatives bubbling in your mind allows you to boldly take that risk. And sometimes that pays off.
Fuck this: This, on the other hand, means the opposite: just getting rid of something. The demanding job, the complicated relationship, the extra credit project – sometimes you need to recognize the difference between what you need to do and what you’re doing out of obligation. Hint: if it feels like a weight the size of a minivan has been lifted from your shoulders, it was probably the latter.
I’ve always been prone to overthinking, and my biggest regrets have usually involved shying away from risks. Starting to taking on a fuck it or a fuck this attitude has freed me to take those leaps that would’ve scared me and left me wondering what could have been. Sure, there’s been consequences for some of my actions, but they’re always manageable (or at least something to learn from) and beat the hell out of lying awake a night wishing I could go back and take the chance. It also has saved me from carrying on with activities and people that were only draining me. For me, the decision to quit sometimes feels like an even bigger risk than the decision to take something on.
These two phrases have left me operating with a kind of ease I’ve never achieved in my twenty years of life. I make decisions faster and agonize over them less, and those decisions have led me to going to events and meeting people I wouldn’t have had I remained scared and set in my ways.
I will say that I by no means have adopted these phrases wholeheartedly. It’s hard to shake indecisive habits that have been ingrained over two decades. These are just exciting new habits that have started taking hold this semester and leave me looking forward to taking more chances in my twenties.
Maybe you’ve been reading this whole post shaking your head wondering, “Jesus, did it really take Rachel twenty years to figure this out?” or “This is horrible advice!” Whatever your take, I hope you at least had some fun reading this, and consider carrying these thoughts into your own life. Answer that text. Buy that expensive necklace. Quit that club that makes you roll your eyes and drag your feet on your way over to meetings. Go talk to that cute person at the party. Tell them your friend from the Internet told you you should.