It's almost March.
It's almost March and there are 1,000 things that I haven't told my seniors that I wish I could. If I could - if there weren't expectations, scholarships, objectives, standards, tests ... I would stop. Hold my hands up in front of class, circle their desks, and we would talk.
I would tell them things like travel.
I would tell them things like separate your laundry even if you think you don't have to.
I'd teach them to apologize. How to look at someone else in the eye, how to apologize, and how to not sneak in a tiny little but on the end. I'd teach them to rest in the quiet after they speak their I'm sorry, and I'd teach them how to absorb the consequences of the hurt they caused.
I'd teach them to not stop in the middle of doorways. In the middle of aisles. In the middle of the escalator.
I'd teach them to never stop in the middle.
I would have them take their phones out of their pockets, out of their backpacks, and we'd take a hard look at social media. We'd talk about what is appropriate to shove out into the world. We'd talk about how that stuff never goes away and we'd talk about the value in an argument online. We'd talk about how wars of words in print never really go away.
I would look at every single one of them and I'd tell them that they will know the heartbreak of loss -- if they haven't already yet experienced it. One day, they'll lose someone dear. We would talk about grace. We would talk about how it will harden the leather of their chest wall -- we would talk about the practice of love. Practicing love. The only way to loosen the leather. To loosen the hurt.
I would tell them that some days they're going to feel like they're drowning. No matter how much they think they have it together. No matter how accomplished they think they are. How smart. How tenacious. One day will come and they will be overwhelmed. I'd teach them about how to make a long list of things they can do. And I'd teach them to start with the smallest task. And then move on to the next.
I'd tell them that climbing out of it starts with baby steps.
If we had the time - if we only had the time. I'd tell them it's okay to be scared. To not know what their next step is. I'd tell them that there is bravery in fear.
Over and over and over, I'd tell them that I'm proud of the people they are becoming.
And I'd tell them that the becoming --
The rising and the opening and the walking out --
I'd tell them that it's all been my joy.
I'd tell them a hundred things. Don't mix cleaning chemicals in a small bathroom. Find a friend in college with a washing machine in their apartment, and never pay for the dorm washers. I'd preach to them to always have a DD. I'd tell them to not wear pajamas to class because it's tacky and lazy. I'd teach them how to set a table, how to greet a potential employer, and I'd teach them how to respond when that potential employer just doesn't hire them.
And I'd tell them over and over again that one small failure isn't their definition.
The rhythm of their life is not defined by someone saying no to them.
The rhythm of their life is defined by the drum they bang.
The song they sing.
The anthem they write.
I'd tell them to make it a good one. To sing it loud. To teach their friends the words. Because sometimes we forget the words ... and when that happens ... their friends can sing them back.
I'd tell them to be still sometimes. To stand in their backyards and listen. To stand in the middle of campus to listen. To take deep breaths. To look at the person that is talking and actually receive the words.
I'd tell them to write the thank you notes. Send the thank you notes. To practice gratitude. Every single day.
I'd tell them to give.
Give their time.
Give and give and give until it helps.
If we just had a little more time. I'd beg them - plead with them - to stop dragging their feet. I'd tell them that the dream they've got in their chests ... the dream that knocks incessantly around in their bellies ... I'd tell them to chase it. To not go with the masses, to not go with their friends, to not go with expectation.
I'd tell them to charge.
Keep going to the dentist. Shut up with the snark. Keep your heads down. Work hard.
Work hard every day.
I'd tell them everything that I've ever learned in the twenty years since high school.
I'd tell them to label their luggage, to not worry so much, and ...
A thousand things, I'd tell them.
Run the show, I'd whisper to them. Run.
I'd tell them to run and to not stop until their lungs are burning, their eyes are clear, and they are proud.
And I'd tell them I've been their biggest cheerleader all along.
If only ... If only there were just a few more seconds of time to tell them all.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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