Things You Learn from Your Senior Year

Here we have a carryover from the old blog which is my favorite thing in the world: a list, a funny list, a list relating to things I have to say. Just very satisfying. Anyway, in honor, as I said last year, of this terrific, life-lesson-teaching, mostly successful year, I decided to collect everything I’ve learned from it into one blog post. One very long blog post. Here goes. Happy readings.

Things You Learn from your Senior Year

1. You don’t have to wear red on the first day of school.

2. You don’t even have to be 100% awake on the first day of school.

3. If you spend an hour and a half sitting around in the parking lot of a McDonald’s with the cross-country team, you might be a lot closer to all of them afterwards.

4. You also might be surprised at what comes out of everyone’s mouths during the hour and a half. People are weird when they’re tired. Really weird.

5. Play a lot of piano. It really is good for your soul.

6. Kids from Idaho get letters from Harvard. All my life I will have problems with not tacking a question mark onto the end of that sentence.

7. You don’t have to be fast, or always look perfect, or agree with anyone if you don’t want to. All you have to do is be you.

8. Some of your Sjolunden friends will agree with you on things that none of your MH friends will.

9. Conversely, some of your MH friends will agree with you on things that none of your Sjolunden friends will.

10. When you are crammed into a truck bed with a bunch of really strange guys who also happen to be your cross-country teammates – yeah, just be glad you’re not involved in their water fight.

11. Wear your Giants jersey. Despite the haters.

12. It’s your dad’s fault you can’t get a date – he keeps buying shotguns!

13. Okay, maybe the shotguns are less important than you thought. Maybe it’s a possibility that you can get a date. Maybe it’s even a reality.

14. Just because you speak at least a little of four freaking languages doesn’t mean you can talk easily in any. You may need to overcome this.

15. Don’t do that junior high crap. It’s sweeter, more eloquent, less ridiculous otherwise.

16. Who knew you could run like that?! Newsflash: Everyone but you. Believe in those who believe in you. They don’t do it for no reason.

17. Accept your setbacks. Do this so those same setbacks have no idea it’s coming when you kick their butts.

18. Talking your sister into doing journalism? Difficult. Putting out a paper? Harder still. Deciding who gets to deliver to which parent on distribution day? Totally worth it.

19. Your shoes will be falling apart and you will still be reluctant to buy a new pair because you are stubborn and a minimalist and have guilt issues. Then you will get secretly mad because your materialistic sister has fewer guilt issues than you do. There’s a word for this. It’s irrational.

20. People get hurt. It is the nature of humans to walk around being imperfect and beat up.

21. You do not “have the right” to care or worry about someone. That needs no justification. Love who you love. Care for who you care for. Worry about who you worry about. And do it well.

22. People like you. More than you know. You will be constantly reminded of this. In all kinds of places.


24. Yes, you have experienced many life-changing, purpose-altering, discovering-who-you-really-are moments about many things you have tried to do, thought you’d fail at and then been reinspired about. No, soccer will never be one of those.

25. If you can’t see someone around you who is hurting more than you – you are not looking hard enough. Stay strong for other people and you will be better able to stay strong for yourself.

26. If you want something, decide that it’s going to be yours. Then work your butt off.

27. Don’t let regrets you don’t have yet about something you haven’t done yet hold you back.

28. Twitter is like freaking Narnia.

29. Never panic. Adjust.

30. Don’t have associate editors. Just don’t do it.

31. The weird thing about ovaries is that you have to regrow them sometimes.

32. It’s all in your head. God only knows what the world is actually like.

33. Seriously. Do. Not. Panic.

34. You will never figure out why someone will seem to be attracted to you as soon as you decide it’s not worth it to worry about them anymore.

35. If someone says, “Do you think I could be an underwear model?” it is practically your responsibility to embarrass them with that statement.

36. Belt it, girl.

37. Do NOT let those bastards get to you.

38. Lesson learned: do NOT drink a full mug of hot chocolate right before you go for your driver’s test…bad idea…

39. Cuddle piles rock.

40. Victoria’s Secret models do not smile. They just don’t.

41. Photoshop projects need to be planned for.

42. It’s okay to not know what you want.

43. Why did you wait so long to get your driver’s license?

44. GTFOI. Get the f*** over it.

45. You are special. You are funny and sweet and people like you. And you can in fact do calculus.

46. You are a GOOD pianist, and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

47. Still, don’t overestimate yourself. Then you can always be pleasantly surprised.

48. Watch the damn road, okay?

49. When in doubt, say what the hell and go for it.

50. It might work.

51. Stop reading this and watch the damn road.

52. Jazz rocks, and choir rocks, and band rocks, and that ought to be adequate to make the point.

53. You know, since this IS what he was made for, Will Lindstrom’s heart will not break if you cut him out of your life for a while.

54. Nor will yours.

55. And to be perfectly honest? Neither will anyone else’s.

56. Stay calm and focus on what you know and have proof of, rather than what you speculate about.

57. Okay, no. Twitter is not like freaking Narnia. It has its uses. But it kind of screws with your outlook and/or perception if you do it wrong.

58. An A in calculus? No problem.

59. Sometimes you have to make yourself get out of bed in the morning and go be successful.

60. Be careful about how you get offended.

61. You still have a lot of growing up to do.

62. Playing Seventeen by Janis Ian on the guitar will always make you feel better, though.

63. Swedish is good for the soul. Really! I have no idea how I haven’t noticed this before.

64. Just because you get a boyfriend does not mean you have figured it all out. Quite the contrary, in fact.

65. Slow down every once in a while.

66. I cannot stress this enough. You’ll get upset if you set your heart on things.

67. That said, it’s okay to set your heart on things.

68. There’s always another side to come out on.

69. Just because you don’t win best in show a third time doesn’t mean you are a bad writer.

70. Talk it out. Carefully. Be understanding. It pays off more than being accusatory will.

71. Never judge. Be tolerant.

72. But you don’t have to be accepting. There is a difference.

73. Let go. Let it be what it is.

74. You don’t have to react to everything.

75. The tighter you hold something the quicker it slips through your fingers. You can solve this in one of two ways: stop holding so tight, or find something that doesn’t have the consistency of sand and hold that.

76. Never lose yourself no matter what you have to endure.

77. Not everything is your fault. Just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you are.

78. Don’t obsess over anything. At all. Ever. Let it be what it is, react to it if necessary, and carry on.

79. Say it with me. WHO KNEW YOU COULD RUN LIKE THAT??!

80. And you thought paying for college would be hard, Miss “I got thirty thousand dollars in scholarship money.”

81. As evidenced by the above Thing Learned, you are as full of it as anyone else.

82. Throw your arms out and smile.

83. Daydreaming is okay. Daydream away.

84. Your mother doesn’t have to get to you.

85. People love you. More than you know. Let yourself go and love them back.

86. Let them catch you when you fall.

87. Let yourself need them.

88. But do get back on your feet as soon as you can.

89. And don’t forget to catch them when they fall, too.

90. What’s that line from Madeleine L’Engle about “It is a much more startling thing to realize that your parents are human beings than it is to realize that you are one yourself.”

91. Love. Be loved. That is all.

92. You have no reason to want anyone’s life but your own.

93. So what if red lipstick “isn’t you”? Wear it if you want to. Wear whatever the hell you want to. Well, within reason. But you know.

94. Fonts are your friends.

95. It’s okay to get hurt (within reason). It doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re real.

96. Giving in to fear doesn’t make your world safer, only smaller.

97. The good old days weren’t always good, and tomorrow’s not as bad as it seems.

98. Love is all around.

99. Love never takes. It has to be given.

100. Love means you don’t dominate or manipulate or control.

101. It will be okay. You will have days and bouts of crying where you don’t know where you’re going or even who you wanna be. But you will figure it out and it will be okay.

102. Hockey players? They’re kinda hit or miss. No pun intended or anything.

103. On that note, intend all the puns you possibly can.

104. Life is a river, always moving.

105. You need to be better about letting lists get away from you.

106. Wearing bandanas is quite possibly good for the soul, if you can convince your vice principal that you’re not in a gang. Ha.

107. If you find yourself with someone else’s feelings in your hands, be excruciatingly careful. And when I say excruciatingly, I mean ex-cru-ci-a-ting-ly.

108. Do what makes you happy, and be happy with what you do. Almost any other verb will also work in that sentence. Proceed with life accordingly.

109. When you get to thinking about how much you’ll never get to experience that other people have, flip it around. You’ve experienced a lot that many people never have (and never will). It’ll even out in the end. Promise.

110. Your senior year is not your junior year. Last year’s list is not this year’s list. It’s longer, more serious, more a list of quotes that spoke to you than things relating to situations you went through – whatever. Let it be what it is. How many times do I freaking have to say that?

111. Remember how tie-dye shirts are absolutely awesome, just not with orange ties? You know what’s even better than a tie-dye shirt? A tuxedo shirt. But I still wouldn’t advise putting it with an orange tie.

112. Keep calm. No ‘and.’ Just keep calm.

113. Say it with me: Not everything is your fault. Like jeez, are you so conceited you actually think that you go around ruining everyone else’s lives? Seriously? They aren’t that concerned with you, sweetie pie.

114. You don’t have to go out every Friday night, or hang out with your friends every Saturday, or date all the time, or date none of the time, or have a job, or wear the right clothes, or drive the right car, or have the right friends or the right kind of fun. All you have to do, is do your thing. Stop bothering and be who you are – and most importantly, which you maybe didn’t learn last year, be okay with who you are. Don’t bother impressing people who have already explained to you (in not so many words) that they’re not worth it. Do not change for anyone but you.

115. It’s not about you. It’ll get frustrating feeling like the only person who understands that it’s not about herself, but it’s still not about you.

116. You have to have lived through the bad to appreciate the good. Remember that.

117. Keep in mind what you want.

118. Nothing is quite as beautiful as spring finally appearing. Enjoy it. Go for a walk, read in the sun, pick violets. Do it. Forget about hurting. Be happy.

119. Love with open hands.

120. Okay. On three. You ready for this? One. Two. Three. WHO KNEW YOU COULD RUN LIKE THAT?!?!

121. See? Even you can run.

122. Recovering from things is like leaving Kansas and entering Oz. Only you do it about a thousand times and every time is better than the last. So Oz just keeps becoming more and more vibrant and colorful every time you enter.

123. The fact that you come from a small town does not have to hinder you. Sure, there will be things you aren’t used to, like having competition or being around thousands of people every day, but guess what? It doesn’t have to get in your way.

124. Calculus is fun. Really.

125. Love without possessing. Rise above the asking price.

126. Don’t be bitter. Be angry, for as long as it takes to be angry. But don’t hold on any longer than necessary.

127. Life is not a game, and you do not win it. Life is a race, and you have to beat yourself.

128. Seven seasons of track and baby, it all comes down to a 6:40 mile. Well, things happen, you know.

129. I think, just possibly, you won’t regret going to school on senior skip day.

130. That said, you will feel like it. For a while. For possibly a long while. Keep your perspective. It all evens out.

131. Make sure to realize that your friends and your family are their own people too. Come to terms with their humanness as well as your own.

132. Speaking of, read as much as you possibly can of Madeleine L’Engle, and as often, and as carefully. Hug the books when you’re done.

133. You are a loveliness all your own. The trick is finding the people who can love that loveliness, in romantic love and not.

134. Give happy people space. Give unhappy people watchful space.

135. Don’t be afraid to admit to needing things – help, encouragement, advice, love. Don’t be afraid to give these things either.

136. You’re not the only one whose Wonderland fell apart. Even some of the people who used to be in your Wonderland will watch theirs fall apart too. It’s okay for that to happen to someone besides you.

137. I know you don’t pay much attention to God on a daily basis, but He made the ultimate sacrifice to show us we were forgiven. You have no excuse to not forgive when God has made such an effort to forgive you.

138. Forgive your enemies. It bugs the hell out of them.

139. Put feet on your love.

140. You need a job, kiddolio.

141. Always pull your hair out of your face before you take a bite of Fattyz. The Universe just runs like that.

142. Just because life isn’t a game to be won, doesn’t mean you can’t win at life sometimes. If life is a race, races can be won.

143. At least gravity is attracted to you.

144. Don’t worry too much about what you do or don’t feel – unless you don’t feel anything, at which point it may be time to worry. A little bit.

145. But still, don’t worry too much.

146. Jazz, journalism and sonnets are all exquisite forms of love.

147. Heal.

148. Live and learn, I guess.

149. Some of the most alive moments of your life can appear on small, cramped wonky stairs, trying to wrestle a boxspring up them. This probably has something to do with, as Des says in The Other Side of the Sun, people needing to feel useful to exist.

150. Anyway, whatever obstacles you may tackle later on, you know now that you can tip a paint can with your feet, climb a revolving door, and wrestle a stubborn boxspring up small, cramped wonky stairs.

151. If you love you, other people will start to fall into place.

152. Well, yeah, it is kind of weird that you didn’t cry at senior farewell, but remember, you have to be okay with what happens.

153. Go you! Gettin’ solos an’ gettin’ over people an’ shit.

154. You may never know why you get the uncontrollable urge to talk like a gangster sometimes. I imagine you’ll get over it.

155. Student of the Year in two departments? You go, girl!

156. You. Are. Loved. Now shut up.

157. It’s okay that you didn’t cry at any final concerts, or on the last day of school.

158. And the fact that you cried at graduation, during Mr. Bird’s speech? Completely fine.

159. How lucky I am to be loved by the band.

160. You may have had more influence on people than you know; it is also entirely possible that they are just emotional and are glad for the presence of everyone they see. Oh well. Be sincere. You know.

161. It’s over. Wake up.

162. You have done a hell of a lot of good.

163. I think changing someone’s life is easier than we think, particularly if they’re already in love with you, but don’t tell the customers that.

164. You know what’s good for the soul? Rolling around on the bed with your best friend while her boyfriend is asleep, laughing your heads off at a medieval German nun’s description of sex. Have fun.

165. On that note, life is there to be lived. Live it.

166. Gratitude is highly important. Show yours.

167. Who you are is not dependent on any external factors, and that word begins with ex for a reason. Accept no influence you don’t want.

168. Love is all around. Everywhere. I may have learned that already. I may need to reiterate it. Because it’s true.

169. Moving your bedroom furniture around is also good for the soul.

170. Heck, lots of things are good for the soul.

171. Life is an enormous string of learning that whatever you did last time was wrong.

172. Shoeboxes are effective, but dusty.

173. The world is always at your eye level.

174. You’ll know it when you know it.

175. Closing yourself off from love because you are hurt is, as Chantal says to Emma in Certain Women, “a kind of suicide you can’t commit.” You are going to love for the rest of your life, and it will be magnificent, and you will feel gloriously alive because of it. Never forget that.

176. When we have to do a thing, we can do it, as Susan Baker says.

177. You have got a lot yet to learn, but you can be proud of what you’ve done so far.

178. Remember how, when you were, oh, a freshman or a sophomore, and your stupid freshman boyfriend (or sophomore ex-boyfriend) said to you, “No calculus, trust me, you’re not meant for it,” and you went and kicked tail and got an A and a B in two semesters and took the AP test and…well. Revenge may not be what life is about, but I’d say that was a pretty damn sweet moment.

179. Tchaikovsky is wonderful.

180. Remember, my darling, to use what you have learned, too.


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