I believe in simplicity. I believe in the magic of sharing homemade peanut butter sandwich crackers in the back of the afternoon school bus. I believe in tattered baseball caps worn in with sun spots. I believe in seeing the yellow flowers people call weeds for the beauty they are.
For me, childhood was filled with the excitement of waking up for school each morning in American Girl pajamas, but also the unexpected joy that snow days brought into the life of the tiniest kindergartner around. My friendships were held together by bracelets made from twine, the latest on the recess market, of course. The plaid jumpers I wore to school never seemed to fit right, but they didn’t hold me back. Then after school, I changed into grass-stained blue jeans, which littered my closet for all of fall and spring. Summers were spent lathering on 100+ SPF sunscreen and cringing when the chill of it hit my freckled skin.
In high school, I traded the plaid jumpers for new kilts and pressed, white button-downs that never became comfortable. Friendships fell apart from the loosely wound seams of childhood dreams. Excitement for school faded, as bullies became real and seemingly unbeatable. Grass-stained jeans disappeared from the closet where they once thrived. Getting older isn’t as fun as it seems when you’re little. Everything becomes utterly complicated.
New people came into my life. New places. New relationships. Growing pains shot up my legs so I had trouble getting to where I needed to go, and the thoughts that clouded my mind made it harder to remember where, exactly, I came from. I felt the pressures of trying to figure out my entire life as if they were walls closing in on me.
I forgot to smell the weeds dotting my yard that I once saw as yellow flowers. I forgot to breathe. And it wasn’t until I walked into my advisor’s office for one of the last times as a high school student that I got it. He reminded me that life should be filled with simple moments. Because it is these simple moments that make people fall in love with life and with themselves. In the face of so much change—graduation, leaving home, changing schools—finding the joy in simplicity made me fall back in love with my life. As complicated as it may get, a cup of coffee can lighten the darkness behind my eyes. A family dinner with the girls from my dorm makes a mile-wide grin spread across my face.
I still haven’t figured out my entire life yet. I’m not sure I ever will. But I now know that’s OK. I focus on finding loose change in the pockets of my newly grass-stained jeans. I focus on the light feeling I get when I wear my favorite t-shirt—the one that fits just right. I focus on the crinkles around my friends’ eyes when smiles spread across their faces. And sometimes all it takes is a peanut butter sandwich cracker to remind me simplicity is everything. I believe in simplicity.
Essayist Christina Chambers is a content and strategy development intern at WPSU.