This weekend I was called by my college and asked for donations. The irony is that I can't even believe I paid for four years there. I didn't donate. I doubt I ever will. My time at Purdue was not my better years. While I'm thankful for some of the friends I made that are still a big part of my life today and of course for the opportunity to learn while I was there - I can safely say college was not the best years of my life.
When I think about my time here, in Tampa, I am most grateful that I have finally learned to trust myself. I lived in fear of disappointing people, of failure, and of trying anything I wasn't sure I could succeed at. It was a limiting and honestly rather exhausting way to go through life. I was reminded of how far I've come since those days this week as I was talking to a friend who just moved back. He went away for a few month to try living somewhere else, away from his family, and pursing a career in an industry he hadn't tried before.
As I said, he's back now. And I couldn't help noticing he seemed down about the experience. As I was driving us to our plans for the night I said, 'you know, I think sometimes trying is the win. Trying in and of itself can be a success. So it didn't turn out the way you thought, right? But I don't see that as a failure. You put yourself out there, you took a risk, and you experienced something ... I don't see any failure in that'.
I am a big proponent of practicing what you preach. While I am always growing, I will say, my time in Tampa has really changed the way I define success. Better still, along the way I've learned to give myself room to try. And most of all I've quit seeing everything I didn't accurately predict as a failure. Sometimes the win is what you learn in the experience. Turns out when I take risks, my wins are bigger and better.
As I said my years at Purdue were not my best years. But, I will say I wouldn't trade the experiences that I had or what I learned. Though admittedly when asked this week by our middle school youth Pastor if I got the chance to relive my life is I would, the answer is an easy no, it's probably not for the reason you think. Each year for me is better than the one before. I don't want to go back and I don't want to change the journey. What I do want is to keep growing, learning, and experiencing. I want to try. I want room to be creative and daring.
Perhaps one of my favorite books this year was 'Love Does' by Bob Goff. As I was talking it over with a coworker, we realized we loved the same thing about the story. Bob wasn't afraid to take chances and he wasn't afraid to be bold. Even more I love that he has raised his children to be daring and creative - that few things are impossible or out of reach. I want that. I want that childlike sense of adventure.
The craziest part about taking chances and giving yourself room to experience? You start dreaming again. Like A kid, I wake up with crazy ideas running through my head and sometimes, I give them a whirl. As a girl whose biggest fear is failure, it's refreshing to dream. I guess if I'm being completely honest, I'm still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. But I'm also enjoying the road to get there.