Same As It Ever Was

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There I am, blending right in.

Picture this: a sprawling college campus with big, brick Gothic buildings. An ornate bell tower that sits atop the library, a kind of academic church. A small lake glistening underneath the April sun and a pedestrian bridge crossing over it. Seventy degrees, a cloudless sky.  Fraternity row overflows with young, enthusiastic college students—all taut skin and big plans—gathered at the school’s annual pig roast, laughter and loud music and the smell of booze wafting through the air.

That was the scene that greeted me and my boyfriend a few weeks ago, when we went down to visit his son at the University of Richmond. And it made me want to be young again. To go back to a time when everything seemed to be ahead of me–to the night of my 18th birthday party, as I drove down a windy country road in a tight, hot-pink, spaghetti-strapped dress: a best friend driving, a Big Gulp full of Diet Coke and rum, and all that freedom rushing through the car with the warm July air.

As my boyfriend and I walked down Richmond’s fraternity row, all kinds of memories moved through me and made me long to go back.

Then I went inside the frat house and the longing subsided a bit. Continue reading

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if i knew then.

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god, let me think clearly and brightly; let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.  -sylvia plath

i’ve recently found myself pining for my misspent youth–dreaming about those carefree days that were wide open, when everything was still possible.  when my flesh was smooth and not puckered.  when i was just an innocent little flower about to bloom.

and then i remembered what a total moron i was, and it made me feel a lot better about being old.  it also made me think of all the things i wish i’d known back then, the things that can really only be learned the hard way.

so here are the things i’d say to all of my younger selves–everything that i know in my bones is true, even if i can’t always remember it all when it matters.

  • there is very little that can’t be made better by a freshly made bed with sheets just out of the dryer.
  • strive to be better, not perfect.  perfectionism is a search for reasons to hate yourself.  being better is so much more possible—and interesting.

Continue reading