SummaryOn life’s highway, make room for things and experiences that bring joy to you. They should be considered integral to both your education and your life.
It is difficult to understate the impact made by the Internet on the way we interact (or don’t interact) socially. There is an enthusiast group for just about everything under the sun somewhere online, and if you want to know about a subject, there is always an expert available and willing to offer free advice. (Note: Free doesn’t always mean valuable.)
While finishing my daily rituals before leaving for Seton one morning, I recently took note of a particular inquiry to the world wide web at large: the seeker, a college student who self-identified as “broke, ‘emphasis broke,’” asked his fellow Jeep fans if he should sell his carefully modified Jeep Wrangler to purchase a more responsible, fuel-efficient vehicle and make ends meet.
He was met with a flurry of funny and insightful responses, everything from, “If you sell your Jeep and don’t miss it, you deserve a Prius” and “How much do you want for it?” to “Work harder to keep your Jeep.” Many others stated that they had once sold their beloved Wrangler only to “feel a hole in their soul they could never fill by anything other than buying another Jeep.”
To be honest, the latter sentence pretty much describes my own previous experience.
Making Room for the Things that Matter
Years ago, I drove home a new-to-me black 2001 Jeep Wrangler on the brightly lit streets of Washington, DC. I worked for a car dealership at the time, and if you enjoy working with cars, you know how easy it can be to be consumed by them. Earlier that day I was handed a customer interested in buying one of the two Jeep Wranglers we had on the lot. He was given rock bottom pricing on both—he just had to choose which one.
I had always thought Jeeps were cool, but during the customer’s test drives, I decided that I absolutely had to have one. It helped that my wife had always wanted a Jeep Wrangler, too.
After a small scene at the manager’s desk, the customer walked out. My manager turned to me and shook his head, stating, “That really was a good deal.”
I knew it to be true. “I’ll take that deal!” I responded.
“Are you serious?”
I filled out my credit application and an hour later sped away into the night, wondering ever so slightly if I had made the right financial choice but basking nonetheless in the exhilaration of my newfound ride.
Many great moments and memories were filled in that Jeep: vacations, scenic vistas, and an emergency transport of our unconscious dog Leia, a then-recent Siberian Husky rescue, to a neurological specialist in hot mid-summer.
Leia recovered and was featured in a clinical veterinary journal regarding her sickness. She spent a lot of time in the Jeep and would go on to become a great family dog. The irony is that the Wrangler’s prior owner had placed a sticker inside of it that said, “No Fur!”
Years passed, our family grew, and I found myself in similar shoes to those of the self-described “emphasis-broke” college student. I sold my beloved Jeep, telling myself it was the best for an array of practical reasons.
Eventually, I realized my mistake. It is strange how attached we can become to the physical things that fill our lives. It was not just the Jeep that went over the curb and out of my life when I sold it—a part of me also left. It took me years to realize, but when I recognized this and then started picturing myself driving a Jeep again rather than an economy car, I knew what I had to do.
Buy another Jeep.
There are many roads we can go down in life. Regret does not have to be one of them, and certainly, traveling does not have to be done in a Jeep.
Whether you are a recent graduate, current Seton student, or Seton parent, my main point is to recognize and make room for the things or experiences that bring joy to you. Do not lose sight of them and their importance. They should be considered integral to both your education and your life.
Of course, practical considerations cannot be entirely escaped, especially when we know that we are accountable for outcomes. Yet too much responsibility, if not balanced with healthy doses of fun, can actually produce in us the habit of denying that fun does us any good. This thought calls to mind words once spoken to me by a kind and holy priest in my youth: “Grow up but don’t ever
Homeschooling affords us a great many opportunities for reflection regarding our experiences and what it means to be a whole person, especially since the more mature learners become, the more they are in charge of their own time.
At Seton, we want you to make good use of all of your time. Even if you are working through the summer, take some intervals for recreation and to enjoy the outdoors. We hope and pray for your health and that you will return to your schoolwork recharged and refreshed. In the meantime, happy trails and Godspeed!