Dear Old State, Dear Old State: Insights From A College Campus And More…

So this past week I have come back to my Dear Old State (an iconic nickname coined to Penn State University). As I was ecstatic to be back at school in the Happy Valley, I took the transition to also reflect on my summer. I am grateful that despite the uncertainty and trepidation that these past few months have brought to each of us, it has truly been a time of growth, family, and small, daily realizations of what is important. So, to say that this time has been profound in many ways is an understatement. And so, as I was standing on the beautiful campus that is Penn State when I arrived, I got that familiar feeling that one gets from time to time. You know that feeling that comes when you just know that everything is as it should be? I believe that there are times in our lives when despite the uncertainty or angst, feelings of calm and confidence actually have the power to win. 

As we are all getting back to our form of semi-”normal”, whether it is school, work, or routine in general, we are faced with two choices. I believe that the first choice is to notice what may be missing or different. And the second choice- the one that I know to be true, is to embrace it. Embrace the newness and truly take the time to see the beauty that is in it. As we approach a new phase here, we are reminded of what is important. There were many things we took for granted pre-COVID. Maybe the lesson in it all was to come to this realization: the people and small moments in our life are ultimately what are most important and what we will remember. 

Rick Hanson, author of the best-selling book Resilient, once said: “There is a saying in Tibet: ‘If you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.’ What’s the most important minute in life? I think it’s the next one. There is nothing we can do about the past, and we have limited influence over the hours and days to come. But the next minute—minute after minute after minute—is always full of possibility”. 

I don’t think he could have said it better. The moments in our life are some of the few things we have control of. Now of course we cannot control what always happens in the moment, but we can always control our reaction to it. And we can consciously cultivate good, meaningful, productive moments. The power is and has always been within us.  I really believe that we are coming out better on the other side of everything that has been going on in the world over the past 6 months. I believe we can come out more grateful, full of life, and even happier because we are more present to the gifts around us.

I will leave you with these three tips. Three things that I do daily that make it easy for me to see the beauty around me.

  • Spend time with those you love
  • Get outside
  • Laugh. Seriously this is an important one!

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