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“Life is Too Short for Turkey Bacon”

September 14, 2012

I’m sitting next to this phrase, written in red Expo marker on the Ministry Center’s white board.  Clearly, it’s telling me to suck it up and enjoy life unapologetically.  Personally, I like “life is too short for Turkey Bacon” more than “YOLO!!!” and that’s saying a lot considering I’m a vegetarian.

The whole concept of “living life to the fullest” is such an eye-roll-worthy cliché that I’m still trying to figure it out.  I mean that if I were to write “YOLO” in an essay my professor would circle it in red pen and draw a frowny face for poor grammar and unoriginality.

I’m getting closer to comprehending it, though.  I’ve made a lot of changes lately, and it turns out that giving up some things has given me peace I didn’t think I was allowed.

You see, the last school year was hard.  Trying to be superwoman, I denied myself sleep, time with friends, and peace for the sake of building my resume.  I thought I had to constantly serve, act, and lead to be worthy of love, attention, and accomplishment.  Truth is, I was doing no one good by running myself into the ground, and I needed to take a break from a few obligations in order to get my feet on the ground.  When I spoke with friends at DU about this, they smiled and said “whatever you need.”  It was as though they knew, from the minute I asked to chat, that all I needed was a hug and to hear “it’s alright, let us help.”

I think a lot of people here face the same problems I do, especially in thinking of college as something to conquer rather than to experience.  I think Commuter students especially face what I call the “Bug’s Life” complex:  “They come, they eat, they leave.”  We come, we do the school thing, we leave.  Whether we show up and do the bare minimum or show up and cram our resume with “experience” the truth is, if we aren’t nurturing our physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual selves, we aren’t living.  Here’s the point:  developing a resume is not the same thing as developing yourself.

I’ve changed my major and taken on different kinds of leadership roles.  I’m struggling not to think of this as admitting defeat to my old major, but it’s not easy to change my “what I’m going to do with my life” narrative.  Part of the process is hearing what God wants me to do and pausing long enough to hear, “No, this is what I want for you.”  I learned that God speaks by pulling at heartstrings.  I need to be a follower of God more than a leader of people.  I need to do more listening than talking.

I have denied myself far too many late night conversations, comfy group study sessions, dinner dates, and movie nights.  That’s why I’m going to breathe more, smile more, pray more, and “just be” more.  I’m looking forward to the retreats, the impromptu games of Frisbee, the “hey, how are you” conversations, and the random fun things that Dominican has to offer.  I’m going to What’s On Wednesday, Res Hall programs, sporting events, and birthday parties.  And you know what else—I’m going to enjoy every cheesy icebreaker.   I’m not really a different person, but I feel like someone new, someone just beginning again.  I suppose that’s what a new school year is about—being new again and being ready to change even more.  For me, that certainly won’t include bacon, but metaphorically I’m giving up turkey bacon for good.

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