by Erica

I found some note on my phone that said “reminder: buy candles and a potted plant”. And then I got a little sad because here I am, on a Wednesday night, candleless and plantless because I failed to follow that whim.

Now before you tell me to stop moping and go buy them, it’s 10:30 pm and I don’t want to be the kind of person that goes to the store at 10:30 at night to buy cinnamon-spice-scented candles and succulents. I really don’t.

Honestly, there are some things I’ve done that were weird as h e c k and things I would have never put on my to-do list beforehand but nevertheless I didn’t necessarily regret them. Allison and I didn’t specifically plan to end up in a mausoleum on a fine August afternoon but there we were, in the basement of some cathedral, wandering around dead people like that was our only hobby.

I didn’t think I’d be up at 4am skyping with two of my best friends and some kid I hardly knew (sorry Levi) talking about life and whatever things you talk about that late at night (see post: Three AM). I didn’t think it’d go on for five hours and Levi would be the last one to go to bed, of all people.

I didn’t plan to spend my Sunday afternoon buying ingredients for and making deep fried Oreos, but that is exactly how I spent it. And let me tell you, those first couple Oreos were some of the best things I had ever tasted. But I also 100% regret eating 5 of them and should have stopped at 2.

I didn’t think that if I went with a couple of kids to lunch we’d pass by a pizza place that was coincidentally training new staff and I’d get an entire meal + drink + dessert for free (?!???!!). Now THAT is the kind of thing I have dreams about three nights in a row.

I didn’t think that some random kid I’d hardly ever talked to would interrupt my studying and suggest we go on adventure. And no I didn’t think I’d have a day filled with borderline trespassing and recurrent safety hazards and jumping through grates behind university libraries, but whoops, I did.

Sure, sometimes it is necessary to curb these weird moods and phases and ideas and decline those invitations to adventure so you can sit down and do homework or work or whatever you do. Sometimes, when you’re 500 pages behind in reading the biography of John Adams for homework (who? what? me?) you can’t just get up and go to the grocery store and buy some mozzarella to make mozzarella sticks, because sometimes your responsibilities need tending to. And so you just have to file that idea in the back of your mind/phone/computer/stone tablet and hope you rediscover it at a more opportune time.

Responsibilities are important. Sure. I love school. But I fully believe that once in a while everyone should take a moment to seize an opportunity that comes waltzing past. Act on an idea. Follow a whim. Accept an offer. Find out where it takes you, because the one of the most haunting, most frustrating questions–at least for me–is what if?

I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go to college—wherever that happens to be—and take weird classes and cool classes and classes that right now I’d laugh at the prospect of taking, and study abroad and learn all these cool things. I can’t wait to live in different places in the US, in the city and in the country and in the north and in the south and in cold places and hot places. I can’t wait to be bombarded with thousands of opportunities—some unexpected and weird and some intriguing at first glance. I can’t wait to eat some really good mac ‘n cheese and some really good sandwiches, and go to some really good bowling alleys, and read some really good presidential biographies (shout out to David McCullough’s biography of John Adams).

There’s just so much to do.

And in the midst of college applications and the unwavering pressure that comes along with thirty-three-hundred essays* and sixty-two interviews**, sometimes I forget that I have my entire life ahead of me. Seventeen years sounds like a whole lot of time because seventeen years has been my entire life. But more than seventeen years lies ahead*** and so do hundreds and thousands of opportunities and experiences I could never even dream of happening.

Overall sometimes the best moments and best friendships and best memories are the ones that are the most unexpected; the ones that just happened and the things that stemmed from opportunities you randomly decided to jump on as it passed. And sure, sometimes there are dead-end ideas and whims that are actual wastes of time, but you’ll never know until you find out. Sometimes I’m really glad moments didn’t turn out exactly the way I had planned it in my head, because they turned out to be so unexpectedly better. Maybe it’s because some of the best moments in life are unscripted.

**also an approximation