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 Five years ago my thoughts were so much different from today. No surprise there since a lot has changed but when I look at old pictures of myself I smile because if I could go back in time to tell myself something, well I wouldn’t. Most of my life I have been school oriented. When I started college my goal was to prove people wrong, yeah not the best goal to have. My motivations were all in the wrong place, and I had a lot of growth ahead of me. I’ve yet so much to learn, so much room for improvement and I already know to expect many changes ahead. Ah, life sure can turn one’s life around.

Graduation is six weeks away, so basically just around the corner. It hadn’t hit me until I went to get my cap and gown and I laid it down on my bed. Sleepless nights, many times crying over physics and calculus problems, many sweet eureka moments that literally made me skip my way to class. It was in college that I found my addiction to coffee, a drink I swore to dislike, just one of the many things I gave a try that I said I never would. After all that and more there I was standing before what I had worked so hard these last couple of years.

What’s next? A big question mark. Graduate school, the beginning of my own family, a far away adventure, a little of all? If you had asked me five years ago what my plans would be today I would’ve said without a doubt, Grad school. Now, I feel like my career has gone one level down on my priority list. For the first time I’m actually excited about wanting to start a family, quite the opposite thought that I had five years ago. I used to shiver at the thought of having kids of my own, my career was the only kid I ever wanted. Me have kids? You’re crazy!

Changes, changes all over the place. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, let along a few months but I can tell you that I’ve enjoyed the journey this far. I have a lot of growth ahead of me, more obstacles to overcome, and more changes coming up. Am I excited? I am!

Smile, take some time to look at your own journey in life. 

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     School is about to start, the whole hype about kids going to school reminds me of when I was younger. I remember that every year I would look forward for that school shopping experience. I remember going down the isles with my brother and or my sister and they would ask me what materials I would be needing for school. This, this, that… The routine was always the same, and always pleasant.

I loved going school shopping. There was just something so nice about that “starting all over” feeling that I loved so much. Each year was the same, a new beginning, a new start. Seeing my nieces and nephews getting ready to go to school really brings me back to my days when I was their age. A lot has changed from what I’ve seen. Perhaps I’m getting to old, perhaps I’m still stuck in my old ways when things seemed more childish and naïve. Nowadays I see kids more worried about other things like makeup (yeah, I’ve seen first graders worried about makeup), and new gadgets and cellphones. I’m talking about kids here! Maybe I really am stuck in the olden days when a lunch box was so cool to have, when the biggest gadget you owned was a Gigapet or a calculator that you didn’t even need. I miss the old days when backpacks where all about Hello Kitty and Lisa Frank and not about Hanna Montana and all those other characters that are way too out there for me.

I remember how the most we complained about where uniforms, and how much we disliked wearing those collar shirts. Now kids that don’t have to take uniform complain about having brand jeans and designer clothes. I miss the simple days of school, the more childish days where kids were actually kids and enjoyed their childhood. Today all I see is kids so worried about their body and image, and having the new styles and being popular. Today it seems that being a second grader and not having a phone is a big deal breaker. What has happened? Why can’t we be a big more conscious about giving kids a break and let them be kids. Then again times have changed, but I don’t think I’ll ever change in liking the simpler things in life.

Smile, just because times change doesn’t mean you can’t reminisce about your good times. 

    There’s these tables in the middle of a school. Its a middle school, to me its the best middle school in the world. By those tables are these big and tall trees that give the nicest shade on hot days. Its on those tables that I used to sit down when I was a little kid to talk to my sweetie about books, and the nerdy things we liked.

Back in the day we were just friends, he was a very shy boy, he was new to the school for that year. He was mysterious in a very captivating way. His brown eyes, his black hair, that thoughtful look that he still does when he’s thinking about things. Looking back I was (still am) a very nerdy girl, quite the weirdo if you ask me. I started to talk to him because we found out we had some books in common, and well mostly I just liked to bug him. At one point I had a crush on him but only to find out that all the other girls had a crush on him too. Being his friend is all I wanted, all that really mattered to me, we remained friends for years after that.

He captivated me from day one, always made me think with his questions and observations about life. During lunch we would sit under those big and tall shade giving trees, on those blue tables predicting what was to happen in our favorite book series. Here we are nearly a decade later, with many miles apart and very close at heart.

Whenever I pass by that school and look at those tables, those trees I get this bittersweet feeling of nostalgia. Remembering how it all began all those years ago, seeing how much we’ve done in the in between time, and where we are now. I’m not going to lie, going back always gets me teary eyed (in a happy way) whenever I think of the good times I had under those trees. It never hit me that that shy and mysterious boy I met all those years ago would end up being the man I want to keep growing old with.

Smile, any little moment can be THE moment that changes your life forever. 

   I had a math professor who would only give us the most challenging problems in each section for our homework (don’t get me started on the exams…) and everyone complained. We would ask him why, and why couldn’t we get some easy ones in there? He would always say “If you can tackle the big monsters you can tackle everything else” that forever resonated with me.

This professor was my favorite math professor ever, he challenged me like no other professor ever did. I spent countless hours trying to figure out the math problems he had assigned, the class had no curve, he had no mercy. Never did he use notes to write notes on the board, never did he hid behind a desk, and from day one he knew each one of us by name. He always had a lot of interesting points and things to say, when I thought about it a lot could also be used outside of the classroom.

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” – African proverb

If you think about it, tackling big monsters in real life give us experience and confidence in ourselves. Sometimes when I have those bad phases of life I think of what he said and I think if I can get through it I can get through many more things ahead. It keeps me going, it keeps me motivated when I am down. Sometimes the bad isn’t so bad as we think, sometimes the bad is what makes us see the good in many places where we couldn’t see. When you have monsters (problems) to tackle just remember that you have a choice to break down, and complain as to why you don’t have it easier or tackle it and add it to your belt of experience.

Smile, don’t get discouraged by those “Big Monsters” of life. 

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