The 22-year-old me.

Miscellaneous

I seriously feel like it was yesterday. It was the day before I went to college. It was late August 2008. My high school boyfriend, a small group of friends and myself had all gone out fishing on a little boat at some state park. It was probably some hillbilly hide-a-way and to this day I cannot remember the name of the park, but I remember it was beautiful. A giant lake surrounded by lush forest, people laughing, gravel parking lots filled with people loading and unloading boats and fishing poles.

It was hot out that day. The sun was shinning. I had on sunglasses, a baseball hat and cut offs. It was the perfect ending to a perfect summer. It was the perfect end to a day that would never happen again. I was going to college the next day and soon everything was going to change. I remember I was  wearing sunglasses that day because I had teared up numerous times and was thankful I had worn them to hide behind. I was so scared. I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend at the time. I didn’t want to leave my friends. I didn’t want to leave my family. A few times I had convinced myself that I just wouldn’t go. Tomorrow wouldn’t come and I could stay on that boat forever…

But the next day came.

My parents and I packed up the car and I picked out my outfit, nervous as could be. What would my dorm look like? What would my roommate be like? Did I even remember what the campus looked like? I had this brand new laptop I didn’t know how to work. I had a Kent State shirt but I didn’t know anything about Kent State. I had these new, huge college textbooks, but didn’t know what my classes were about. I seriously had done nothing to prepare. I had no idea what I was doing in college and I wasn’t even there yet.

But suddenly I was there. Suddenly I had arrived at my dorm. I remember my first moments of college almost like a dream, like a blurry movie with moving objects. I don’t remember what I said to anyone about anything, I just remember being in the moment.  I walked into my dorm, signed in and the next thing I knew my new college roommate was hugging me and introducing me to everyone on my floor. Everyone was hugging, laughing and screaming. Everyone was so excited about a new life here in Kent.

 The next few days went by in a haze. I was meeting tons of new people, going to frat parties for the first time, sitting in a lecture hall for the first time, eating at all the cool on-campus spots for the first time (well, they seemed cool at the time at least.)

Those first few months were some of the best of my life. Everything was so new and exciting and I didn’t know what to expect, but that’s what was so awesome. I was soaking up everything about Kent State and I loved it. I fell in love with my classes, I fell in love with the weekend and college parties and college boys and college friends and college food.

I was so curious about life, about the new experiences that Kent brought. I suddenly just accepted the change my life had encountered and I ran with it, not looking back…just running like hell with it.

And as I sit here with a smile on my face thinking about the young, innocent, 18-year-old Cassandra that showed up to Clark Hall room 333, I think why can’t I be like that again? Why can’t I be the young, curious 22-year-old Cassandra that is excited to start life after college? What is the difference between four years ago and now? Why can’t I have that same enthusiasm, curiosity and excitement for life that I had back in August 2008? What is holding that back?

Although I am not excited to move out of Kent, the small college town that has become my home, I need to try and get excited about the new chapter ahead of me. I might not be excited about walking across that stage on August 11, but I need to get inspired by what I can accomplish. I might not be looking forward to leaving my friends and my college life behind, but it will happen, just like starting college happened even when I didn’t want it to.

The 18 year-old Cassandra wasn’t ready to go to college just like the 22-year-old Cassandra isn’t ready to leave college. But life moves forward and it has the tendency to take you with it, even if you aren’t ready…

The funny thing is, sometimes you really are ready, you just don’t know it yet.

Nothing Sweeter Than Summertime.

Miscellaneous

“There’s a wild, wild whisper blowing in the wind, calling out my name like a long lost friend. Oh I miss those days as the years go by, oh nothing sweeter than summertime.”

American Honey by Lady Antebellum is by far one of my favorite country songs. I might even go so far as to say it’s my favorite summer anthem. This song takes me back to memories of sitting around a bonfire, driving with the windows down, laying on a beach laughing with my friends and sitting out on a patio on a warm summer night.

This song reminds me of this past summer (summer 2011 was absolutely amazing – I met the BF, lived with two of the funnest girls I know and had a killer internship) but this song also brings me back to the summers of my childhood. Running barefoot in the grass, swimming at night in my best friend’s pool, catching fireflies, entire summers filled with softball games, popsicles and trying to keep up with my brothers (since they were older and sooo cool.) I guess this songs reminds me that no matter how old you get, no matter how bad the winter was, no matter how much you think you’ve changed — the simple joys of summer can bring you back to where you belong.

No wonder I have seasonal depression. Summer is by far my favorite time of year, the memories associated with it are so sweet and so pure.

The BF and I made a quick sketch of a summer bucket list the other day, so I’ve been thinking about summer memories a lot. Starting this weekend, my summer 2012 activities kick into full swing and I cant wait to live and be a part of the memories made this summer. It all starts this Friday when I get to see this little cutie at Blossom Music Center…

Brad Paisley!

I’m going to the concert with the BF and two of my roommates and we’re meeting the girls from high school there. Yes, I am not above drinking in a field in a flannel shirt on the back of a tailgate. This is what country music and summer is all about!

The following weekend is my future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party followed by a full-out family reunion the next weekend for the actual wedding. After that is a blur of 4th of July parties, fireworks, the Tree City 5K, the BF’s family reunion, a concert at Rocking on the River, my last friend to turn 21 (complete with a party bus to Cleveland), Party in the Park, the Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney concert, a weekend trip to Put-N-Bay, Cedar Point and oh ya my college GRADUATION!

In the back of my mind I think about graduation and becoming an adult — you know getting a real job, becoming super responsible, having my life figured out… Before I know it August 11 will be here. Does graduation suddenly mean I’m an adult and can’t enjoy summer anymore? No. I’ve come to understand that I have forever to grow up and become an adult and worry about the future. In a quote from the TV show “How I met your mother” I’m going to let future Cassandra worry about the future. So for now I’m going to enjoy all the simpleness and joys that summer has to offer, and it starts by drinking a margarita on my back patio right here, right now.

Yep, there really is nothing sweeter than summertime and the memories attached to it, but more importantly are the people who share in and are a part of those memories.

Happy summer, happy girl. Keep running!