I’ve been thinking about change a lot recently. I’ve been thinking about change because it was at exactly this time last year when I experienced the biggest set of changes in my entire life. Because it was at this time last year that I went on exchange to Cape Town.
All of this thinking about change has made me realize how precious change can be. For the most part, I’ve lived my life following a pretty set schedule — like most of you reading this article. My life revolves around school, part-time jobs, applications and occasionally being social and sleeping. But when I was in Cape Town, everything was different. In Cape Town, everything was perfect — and then, that had to end.
My time in Cape Town was truly the greatest five months of my entire life. I traveled to seven countries. I went on countless trains, planes and automobiles. I drank too much and I ate far more. I saw deserts and savannas and palm trees and lush forests. I raced down highways and was stared down by elephants. I got terribly lost and lost out on even more sleep. I jumped off bridges and jumped on trampolines. I walked through a KFC drive-thru at 4 a.m. and I walked across international borders. I ordered Ubers so I didn’t have to walk three minutes in the rain, and I walked hours in the sweltering heat. I cried and I yelled and I smiled so big that my face hurt.
Yes, I did it all.
But change — change doesn’t care. Because change is inevitable.
So now I find myself back to where I started. At least, in terms of the schedule, that is. No longer am I living a life defined by adventure. Once again, it’s school, part-time jobs and applications. But that’s okay. Because the reality is, I still have the memories. I still have the knowledge. I still have, and will always have, the lifelong friendships.
Change can’t take that away from me. I won’t let it.
So no matter what changes you endure. Whether they be good, or bad. Don’t let change define your experiences. Don’t let change define who you are.
Instead, use it.