There are a billion and one things I have thought about as college comes to a close. The main thing is this: College is not sustainable. And that’s okay.
In fact, that’s wonderful. Being young is about doing all the things that you would not be able to do otherwise. It’s about living without rhythms and then recognizing the need for them. It’s about running on coffee for days to learn that it’s not healthy. It’s about way too late of nights with friends to think deeply and love hard. It’s about living on In and Out and Ramen to have the money to fly across the world.
I have realized that the people who have changed the world most are those who have lifestyles that are completely unsustainable, yet they are possible because they are empowered by God.
When you look at the world, you will find that life seems to come in waves, pulses. I believe that our youth can look like one of them in its extremity. I recognize that depending on one’s privilege, the amount of responsibility one takes on will differ, but the opportunity for outcome is still at one of its highest in this point of our lives. There are other moments like this later on, but right now our bodies are strong and our limitations limited.
So I am asking this question, “What can I do now that I won’t be able to do when I’m not young?”
I’m recognizing I can make my biggest mistakes right now in college. I can turn in an assignment late and get 20% off the next day because I was out all night on skid row. I can drive to Koreatown at 1AM to drink coffee with friends and talk about our struggles. I can pull all-nighters to read the Bible nonstop for a week, and wake up at 3 AM to watch the sunrise in Joshua Tree before my 9 AM class. (that was a really bad idea that God definitely gave me grace for).
I’m not saying we should purposefully make mistakes. And I’m definitely not recommending that you rebel against God, but do radical things for him that may risk a mistake or two. And in doing this, we will see God’s grace not only for the things we’ve done wrong, but for the things we can do right. We might find our lives leading to impossible things.
We might find ourselves flying across the world just to play soccer with children we love and haven’t seen for 5 years simply because scholarships exist. We might see ourselves scaling mountains, learning new languages, and booking spontaneously flights to Florida.
This is not to say we should ignore our responsibilities but recognize how flexible they are right now. I think this is why every older adult tells me, “don’t waste your youth.”
Let’s not waste this freedom scrolling on Instagram or taking perfect pictures to forge memories. Let’s make memories. Do something worth posting. Let’s actually do crazy things with our youth to see the rest of the world benefit.
We can start businesses, make movies, travel far, love our neighbors, get something out of our textbooks, and make relationships across the globe. We can plant things now that will grow well into our 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.
And it is okay if it is not sustainable. In fact, it won’t be, but we’ll learn as we go. My dad always says, “Life does not have to be balanced at a single point.” You may work your butt off for 5 years to live overseas with no income for the next 3. You may have one semester where you don’t leave your room, but the next, you never come home. Sometimes we get to sleep for hours, other days will lead to long nights.
Life is waves, pulses.
This is life's rhythm, and I'm learning to live taking advantage of it.
"To whom much is given, much will be required."-Jesus