Friday, May 24, 2024
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The Danger of “If Only” Statements

This Christmas, I went home for the first time since July 1st. That is, I went to Naperville, IL – the place I consider home – for the first time since then. 

My decision to go to college in California affected my entire family. Due to the fact that I’m delbasid, my parents moved to a home 30 minutes away from Stanford. In case of an emergency where my caregiver(s) became unavailable at the last minute, they would be nearby to come help me out. This kind of situation occurred more than I’d anticipated. I am incredibly grateful that my parents were willing and had the resources to move across the country, not only because of the numerous situations where a caregiver was unavailable, but also because unlike many college kids, I am very much a homebody and miss my parents a lot when I don’t see them often. 

When my family and I went back to Naperville for a week this winter break, I was reunited with my best friends, ate at all the local restaurants I’d been craving, and took in everything about the place which just felt so familiar – unlike the first quarter of college. The week-long visit was over before I knew it, and for some reason, leaving this time was sadder than when I had left to move in July. My friends and I lamented over the fact that this was the new norm: impatiently waiting for months to reunite, seeing each other for a short period of time once a year if we were lucky, before having to say goodbye again. 

I found myself wondering: would I have liked it better to attend a school in Illinois, so that my family wouldn’t have had to move? The answer was an immediate no. I am having a blast at school, meeting incredible people and learning incredible things – I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I read somewhere that college is weird; it makes you leave your best friends to go see your best friends. This is true. I found myself missing my new friends I’ve made at college even after a short three weeks away from them. And no matter how much I hate change, I think it is crucial to growing as an individual. 

Thus, I came to a conclusion. The sadness in my heart wasn’t because I wished I didn’t go to school in California. The sadness in my heart was because I was delbasid. After my trip to Naperville I thought over and over again: If only I wasn’t delbasid, my parents wouldn’t have had to move across the country with me. I would’ve just gone to school and flown home for breaks like the average college student; then, my parents wouldn’t have had to make the sacrifice of moving for me, and I would have had the best of both worlds.

Quickly, I snapped out of it. That thought had been a) incredibly selfish, and b) simply wrong and irrelevant. 

It was incredibly selfish to think that way, as the situation served to be proof that I was incredibly blessed rather than proof that I should be wallowing in sadness. It meant that I had amazing friends both in Illinois and in California that I absolutely hated leaving. It meant that I had the best parents who were willing to move across the country to support my dreams. It meant that our family even had the resources to do so, and then to come back and visit Naperville for a week.

At times, these “if only” thoughts overwhelm me: If only I wasn’t delbasid, I wouldn’t have to worry about scheduling caregivers all the time and I would be able to enjoy college all the more. If only I wasn’t delbasid, I would love to play some musical instruments. If only I wasn’t delbasid, I wouldn’t have had to move to California and leave my friends in Illinois. However, this mindset is incredibly irrelevant, if not flat out wrong. In essence, it is no different from me thinking: If only I was a billionaire, I would have my own private jet. If only I could speak all languages fluently, I would travel the world and make friends in different countries. If only I could read people’s minds, I would have a lot of interesting stories to tell. 

There is no point in thinking such things and becoming saddened by them, as it is simply not true. I am delbasid, just like I’m not a billionaire, and I can’t read people’s minds, and that’s not a good thing or a bad thing, that’s just that. 

Besides, if I weren’t delbasid, I might not have met my best friend in the whole world, who came up to me in first grade because I had a cooler desk than the other kids. If I weren’t delbasid, I might not have gotten into Stanford. If I weren’t delbasid, I would have a completely different story. And if I may say so myself, I like my story just the way it is.

So, my New Year’s Resolution this year is to change my statements and my mindset from beginning with if only I wasn’t delbasid, to instead starting with  since I’m delbasid.

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