A little change, A little excitement

There are so many things that are temporary in life, and I’ve had a hard time dealing with that. There are certain things I’m okay with changing. I’d like to think I’m adventurous, the type of person who would just pack up and move.

Now, I’ve been taking piano lessons since I was five. I’ve had the same teacher for about ten years, Nathaniel. Our lessons did not involve much talking, but there was something personal about our relationship. He watched me grow up. He saw when I could barely Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars, to when I was playing Chopin and Bach. He was there when I was making the decision about high school, and then the decision about college.

Well, my junior year of high school, I found out that our schedules would not be the same anymore, and he would no longer be able to teach the 45 minute lesson I had every single friday for the past 10 years. At the moment I wasn’t upset. Strangely, I didn’t mind too much. I’ll be done with piano lessons in a year anyways, I thought.

It was Friday, I was a senior in high school, and I was sitting in my music room — Nathaniel’s music room– waiting for my new teacher. He came in, looking very hipster-ish, sat down, and said, “Ok what do you want to play?” Now, one thing I loved about me and Nathaniel’s relationship was that he chose the songs he thought were “fit” for me. He chose a bunch of songs, played them for me, and then asked me which one I liked. This is how it worked. This is how I wanted to be. So, I told this new guy, “look, I don’t know. Can you play me something and I’ll choose?” Well, so much for that idea. His style was completely different from Nathaniel’s, and mine. I remember just sitting there trying to play what he was telling me and then I did the unthinkable, I started crying.  Right there, in the middle of the lesson. The poor guy was probably wondering what he did, but of course, I didn’t say a word.

Now I gave him the cold shoulder for a good month before I started warming up to him. He was more lighthearted than Nathaniel; he was fun and outgoing, whereas Nathaniel was composed, elegant, and strict. The last day of classes, I wrote the new guy a note. I was very honest and told him I had not liked him that much in the beginning because he wasn’t Nathaniel, he wasn’t what I was used to. However, I ended the note by saying I appreciate him for making me excited about music and for helping me step out my comfort zone.

I don’t know how many people can relate to being frustrated about a change in their new music teacher, but I do know people can relate to feeling frustrated after having a change in something that you were so used to. A change in location. A change in friends. Even a change in yourself. Change is okay, and if you give it a chance, you’ll realize that a little change brings a little excitement to your life.

On the Edge

We live in a world of uncertainty. Whether it’s as simple as being uncertain about a first date or as complicated as the uncertainty of your future. Our lives are filled with what ifs, and the constant worrying about what could happen next. We are not psychics, we cannot predict the future. So why do we worry? Why fret about what we cannot control?

I fall victim to uncertainty. All the time. While I do worry about what could happen, or about what did happen, I am a big believer of just going with the flow. Because how interesting would it be to live a life of complete certainty? What good would it be to live in the safe zone, no risks, no regrets. I mean, everyone knows that saying: expect the unexpected, because for the most part, many good things do come unexpectedly. We should live our lives not knowing what’s going to happen next; on the edge of excitement.

It’s a mood, not a destination

Today I was watching One Tree Hill (corny, I know) and one of the characters said, “Happiness is a mood, not a destination.” We are constantly saying, “one day I’ll be happy,” or “maybe tomorrow I’ll be happy.”  By making happiness a goal, a “destination,” we never really focus on what it’s like to truly feel joy because we are constantly looking for something that will make us happier.

We should focus on the little things that make us happy, like watching a really good movie or spending time with friends. Eventually we’ll realize that those small things are what really make us happy. I know lately, I’ve been focusing on writing. When I was little, I always used to write stories, and even though I could barely put a proper sentence together, I would boast about becoming an author when I grew up. I came to college and completely forgot about writing, until now. I’ve realized that I don’t have to bottle up my feelings because I can write about them.

I started writing every day, even if it’s just a sentence or too. And I can say, at this moment, I am happy.

Just Breathe

Today I had an anxiety attack. I was sitting in class, waiting for my final bio exam to come out. Now, this was an exam I worked my butt off for– I studied every night for about 5-6 hours. And after I took the exam, I was disappointed by the lack of confidence I had. Usually, I come out of an exam feeling really good about it, or really shitty. And after that exam I was feeling pretty shitty.

Now today, my professor was ready to return the exam, and all of a sudden, my heart started racing. I got as nervous as I did right before I had to do any kind of public speaking. I remember trying to concentrate on my professor’s lecture, but I started feeling dizzy and nauseous. I got up a decided to go out for a breather. I’ve never had this happen to me before. I understand feeling nervous before getting an exam back, but this wasn’t any kind of nervous. This feeling of angst was permanent in my stomach, and I was subconsciously convincing myself that I had failed the exam. It turns out I actually did way better than I thought, and I instantly felt like I could breathe again.

One thing I’ve learned in college is that you have to breathe. My dad and I always had this ongoing joke about forgetting to breathe. One time in high school, I was studying for the SAT and one of their tips were: “Don’t forget to breathe.” And I remember telling him, “Why is that even a tip. You can’t forget to breathe.” And he just smiled at me and said “Sam, don’t forget to breathe!”

Now that I’m college I am constantly reminded of my father’s little saying. This first year of college has been one of the most stressful times of my life. I’ve realized that I’ve let stress take the best of me. Instead of focusing on myself and what makes me happy, I’ve spent too much time fixated on what doesn’t make me happy. I’ve lost track of the little things that make me smile.

Anxiety and depression is real in college, and most of the time you can’t tell whose suffering through it. Now I’m learning to take my own advice, and I’m just going to breathe.

Success

Everyone measures success differently. For many, success is setting a personal goal and achieving it. In college, finding success in your work is hard to do. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly comparing yourself to those around you.

To you, a B+ may be an achievement until you see your best friend gloat about her A. Success shouldn’t be about comparing yourself to all of your friends or classmates. Success should be what makes you feel accomplished. It should be what gives you that little spark of happiness inside. It should be that feeling where you’re proud of yourself, and you can’t wait to share your accomplishment. I’ve realized everyone’s success is different during my first year of college. Sure, a little competitiveness will help me push myself to do my best, but constantly putting myself down isn’t going to get me anywhere. We may have the same goal, but our journeys sure won’t be the same. Everyone starts somewhere, and it only gets better from there.

I’ve never written a blog. I don’t even know how to write a blog. All I know is that I love to write, and lately I’ve realized that all I want to do is get my thoughts out, even if it’s to a blog no one will look at. I’ve turned to writing to comfort my mind. It’s become a desperate attempt to clear the noise that I hear all day. When I feel myself distancing myself from everyone, I take ease in the in the way I can write the words I have trouble saying. Having the courage to write every day and improve my writing because I want to, not because someone is making me, is my form of success.