Well, buddy, you’re right in the middle of your first spring break in college. How’s that treatin ya? You’re home, with our parents, just chillin there with two other sacks of fur that happen to be our german shepherds. I envy you.
You might not realize it now, but you’ll miss these days. Perhaps you know that already (something inside me thinks you do), but I wanted to tell you anyway. The truth is I miss a lot of days.
I remember when I was like twelve or something and we raked all the leaves up in the backyard into a huge pile and proceeded to dive into it like a swimming pool. Fun times. I also remember beating each other to a pulp because you’d beat me at some video game. Not so fun times.
Please forgive my past transgressions–I was a lost soul.
I want you to know that I remember those times, and I don’t think about them as much as I should. There was a large portion of my life where we spent so much time together. You always obliged me when I needed help making movies. I know you didn’t want to do it, but the definition of being selfless is putting someone elses needs above your own, right? You are truly selfless, just like mom. That’s your trait, and it always will be yours.
You were my partner as I navigated my childhood, teens, and high school life. You played baseball, like me, but then you started playing basketball. Your sport. You watched football, like me, but then you made the semi-questionable decision to start cheering for the Eagles and Donovon Mcnabb. Your team. I still remember that fathead of him you had on the wall in our room.
I feel that respect from you as an older brother, but trust me, I never respect you more than when you make your own decisions and become more and more of who YOU are, and in recent memory you’ve done so at an ever-increasing rate.
Sometimes when we become who we are and break off from the norm it can be perceived as weird. I journal, Rob. I keep a journal. I’m one of the only males I know that journals. In fact, I don’t know of anybody else that journals. Wait, I do.
I used to be super scared to journal around my peers, like if I was in a bus or something. They’d look and see the date and wonder why the heck a 21-year-old guy is spilling his emotions and thoughts on a page like that. Quick side note: As if there’s something better to do on a bus? Like look out the window?
Anyway, yes, I was scared to do that, but not anymore. I journal now. I journal everywhere. If someone asks, or stares, I’ll smile at them and explain to them what I’m doing. Then they understand.
If someone doesn’t understand you because of something you do, or like, that’s their fault, not yours. There’s a perfectly good reason why people like the things that they do. Sometimes it makes them feel safe, or happy, and it’s easily explainable. The right people will understand. The right people will always find you, too.
First off, keep the damn beard if you want to. Truthfully I may just be jealous because I can’t grow one, I’m not entirely certain. The reason I say that is because you’re perfectly you when you do that–and nobody should discourage you from being you. Maybe you don’t like the beard anymore, which would make this point mute, but I’m telling you that in a broader sense you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel inferior because of who you are. I like to be clean-shaven, that’s my thing, but not yours, and that’s awesome.
I remember walking around my own college campus very scared as a freshman. Everybody else seemed so sure of who they were. Some (not all!) were loud and got a lot of attention, but I want to tell you that getting attention doesn’t mean someone is better than you.
If getting attention meant that, then Donald Trump would by far be the best candidate for presidency in the history of the United States, and we all know Ben Franklin was actually the best candidate for presidency even though he never formally ran.
I’m not saying you feel this way, but I know I felt left out sometimes in college. It’s okay to feel left out–or not so popular. It’s okay to chill by yourself for a while. I had my tough times, too.
It’s tough to pinpoint why children who go away to college suddenly become more patient with their parents and less judgemental. It’s tough to pinpoint why we start seeing all the good things and none of the bad. My opinion is because we suddenly become aware of how crappy the world really is, and in turn how loving our parents really are.
We get cold scowls from people we don’t know in the dorms, and we suddenly wish for the smiles we used to get from our parents each and every day.
During my first year I really only had one friend during my first semester at Palm Beach Atlantic and one friend during my second semester at Messiah. You know who those two people are. I’m not saying I didn’t have other friends, I’m just saying I only had one person I really felt close to, but that’s because I’m not the kind of guy to make 13,000 close friends–I really only spend my time with one.
I started spending a lot of time with Steve. We played Halo and went to the Union together a lot. He could always make me laugh, and all you need is just one person man. One person can take your day from bad to amazing. You don’t need to be the most popular person in the world.
Rob, growing up is so so difficult. College is really the first time you’re ever by yourself and making your own decisions. College is when you really become you.
Thankyou for being different than me, and I want you to continue to diverge from my path. I want you to listen, but make your own decisions. I want you to wake up every day and absolutely love your life, your friends, and your surroundings. But I’ll let you in on my secret, I used to think that running away to another place would solve all my problems.
New surroundings (and warmer weather) helps, but what really solves problems is the people that surround you, and your own attitude. And guess what? All it takes is one person. Just one other unique, semi-weird, fully-awesome person. Thankyou for being one of those people for me.
I miss you buddy.