TAYLOR LIFKA ‘17
Nobody ever talks about the hard things in life. I guess I’ve come to realize this more over the past six months than ever before in my life. Why?
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and life is no longer simply rainbows and butterflies – things matter; there’s a seemingly never ending amount of “stuff” to do; relationships are tough.
It’s funny though because it seems as if the world wants to pretend that this isn’t the case: the smiling Instagram photos, the incessantly long Snapchat story, the constant laughs.
Don’t get me wrong I do it too. Yet I find myself coming back to the same word: why?
Of course there are those beautiful moments in life, the ones that make you stop and take it all in, making sure you don’t miss a beat – those moments that you would give anything to relive, just one more time. Share those on Instagram, I’ll probably throw you a like.
The point I’m trying to get at, however, is that our society makes us feel as if these moments must be everyday events. And if they’re not, you better put on a smile and make it seem like today’s the best day of your life.
Just over a month ago I returned from studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile for five months.
The first week back at school was full of questions about my time in another country: “how was Chile?,” seems to be playing on a never-ending reel in my head. The typical answer to passerbyers is, “life changing, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Yet to the people that really want to know, how was my time abroad, I would tell you the same thing: life changing, but maybe not for the reasons you’d think.
It wasn’t the best half a year of my life because I woke up every morning to the waves of the Pacific right outside my window, because I climbed to the top of South America’s most active volcano, or because I traveled to Patagonia and beyond.
Studying abroad was life changing for me because it pushed me outside my comfort zone. Because I lived with a family that spoke rapid Spanish to which I could only laugh and nod my head in hopes that “sí” was the answer that they were looking for.
Because I sometimes felt alone in a country in which I was an outsider, a gringa thrown in with the masses.
It was life changing because I wasn’t afraid to admit to myself that some days were going to be hard, and that was just going to have to be okay.
Now that I’m back here on the hill I long for my host family: my sister that became the best friend I’ve ever had, my dorky brother who made me crack a smile on my hardest days, and my mom who loved me like her own daughter. Yet I wouldn’t have this had I not gotten through the hard days first.
I’m here to ask us to simply stop feeling like we always have to be “on”, especially if life’s thrown some curve balls your way.
I’m here to ask us to embrace the hard days, because without them there would be no such thing as a good day – we’d be living in a never ending cycle of moments, not good or bad, fantastic or otherwise, simply moments.
And I can promise you, life is so much more than that.