I’m a pretty sentimental person. I don’t think that is a necessarily a bad thing. Especially because I’m really corny and really like to make people feel great about themselves (which, I don’t really understand why anyone would want to do anything else). I’m also old-fashioned in practically every sense of the word. One aspect that shows the old fashioned-ness in me is the fact that I love to write letters (or occasionally type them, because my penmanship is a monstrosity). So, as graduation is right around the corner, it is no surprise to me that the first thing I planned on doing was writing letters to the few friends that I have grown closest to these past few years in college, that helped me survive being an RA by working right alongside me; to let them know how much I cherish their friendship and how much I enjoyed the memories we made during my collegiate career. The seven of them haven’t gotten their letters yet and might not even be aware they are coming, but they will in the next few days. I’m excited to give them to them and I hope they like them.
I wrote the letters a few days go, to give me time to write them all, plus time to print them and make them look pretty. And, being the emotional, sentimental and overly-caring person that I am, even though the letters ranged from only one to three pages in length, they were really heavy; all of them expressing my true feelings of how much I care about these individuals who have impacted my life so greatly; full of advice and favorite memories from the years; writing to ensure each and every one of them know how amazing they are as people, how I believe each of their character is something to aspire to. My heart physically hurt after I finished writing them.
And I was happy with those letters. I reread them and was happy that even though I am “leaving” and “moving on” to who knows what, each of my closest friends will have something written by me to remind them of our friendship. Then, fast forward to yesterday. I start thinking about these letters and how important they are to me. And then I start to wonder how they are going to react. And I grow worried, oddly enough.
What if they get uncomfortable by the compliments I gave? What if I gushed too much about them? What if I consider myself closer to them than they do to me, and this suddenly catches them off-guard?
These questions and more begin to run through my head and I start to think that maybe I should go back and edit these “farewell letters” (I don’t plan on losing any of these people, but that is a simple term to describe them), in order to avoid these potential reactions. But, thankfully, I was able to realize a few things before I logged back on to my laptop (because, remember, my handwriting is atrocious):
One, I over-think. A lot. Especially when it’s finals week and I was done with all of my finals on Monday. Two, when I care about someone, I invest everything into them. No matter if it is a romantic relationship, a friendship or my family (and pets), once I have become close enough to someone to invest myself into their well-being, their dreams and their future, I invest myself fully. So yes, I might cherish someone to a “greater degree” than they do me — but, I would also like to point out it is never a competition of who cares about who more; that doesn’t matter — so it shouldn’t be any surprise that these letters are literally my heart and soul.
But thirdly, and most importantly, why would I change a single word of encouragement, of reflecting, of remembering, of cherishing, of praising another individual who has impacted me, inspired me, motivated me, changed me and lived by my side? Why would I ignore this chance to tell them how much they mean to me, regardless of how they may react or how they feel about me; regardless of how I impacted them? Sure, they may be surprised or unsure of how to respond to so much positivity and so much praise in one form, but who knows how much it could help them in the future? Who knows how much it could possibly mean to them, to know these things; to know how much they are cherished, if only by one person? It could literally be life changing — not trying to say that they will be, but I believe fully in the power of words. And, every word I wrote was real. I meant it because I felt it. And I would be a fool to not use these letters to praise, to appreciate, to thank and to love, as I may never get the chance to fully do so again. And that is exactly what I did through these letters and what I think I should do more often. Because what bad could come from telling someone they are valued, loved and enough?
That is my new challenge to myself and my challenge to you: don’t be afraid to appreciate those around you. Don’t fear to show your love. Because in one form or another, you will lose everyone you care about, everyone you know, one day. And when that day comes, they deserve to know exactly what they meant to you.
This weekend, I hope my college buddies know exactly that.