Perhaps it’s the stress from the end of the semester (or maybe it’s because I’d rather be taking the road before me and singing a chorus or two on my way home for break), but there are often days when I look up from my homework and think to myself, “Oh, what I wouldn’t do to be 10 years old, stressing only about what candy I’m going to bring for our classroom Christmas extravaganza.”
Overly-dramatized, premature midlife crises are my specialty.
Throughout the semester, I’ve gotten to relive middle school days (in the best way possible!) during my time as a mentor for the Young Women’s Leadership Program, a class offered through Ohio University’s college of education in partnership with the Women’s Center and Athens Middle School. While being paired with a middle school-aged mentor is a mandatory element of our coursework, the once-a-week, two-hour mentoring sessions feel hardly like homework as we color and reminisce our way through discussions on leadership, body positivity and anti-bullying tactics.
This week, amid a too-close-for-comfort team building activity, the middle schoolers and mentors untangled a sweaty lesson on the importance of forging alliances with friends and family throughout all aspects of life. As my mentee listed out members of her support system on an oversized Post-it Note, I noticed the assignment’s delightful relevance to an experience of my own earlier in the week.
On Monday morning, I woke up to a surprise Facebook message from Gorana, the foreign exchange student my family hosted when I was in the fifth grade. As frequent guest on my “talk show” during the earliest days of Reality With Mallory, Gorana is now as loyal of a follower as she was a participant in my goofy antics nearly one decade ago– in her note, she shared how much she appreciates reading my posts all the way from Croatia.
Needless to say, my Monday blues all but vanished by 7 a.m.
Just as support systems are vital to the wellbeing of girls navigating their way through middle school, so, too, are they important for providing a boost of happiness to someone’s otherwise routine weekday morning. Inspired by Gorana’s message, I challenged myself to pay forward the same happiness by sending a note to an important person in my life each morning this week.
While my novel-length, “Good luck on your first day of your last high school swim season” text to my brother prompted a facetious, “Thanks, you too” response, most recipients were pleased by my early morning thoughts.
In fact, mornings are a little bit brighter for everyone when friends are calling, “yoo-hoo!”
(They’re also a little bit brighter when they’re spent listening to Taylor Swift’s new album while splitting BOGO Starbucks holiday drinks, but those are musings for another day.)
This week, I challenge you to start your mornings by sending thoughtful messages to members of your own support systems. Place a sticky note on their doors, shoot them a text or send a message in a bottle all the way to Croatia– think of it as a festive Christmas card without the hassle of having to coordinate the family for a group photo.
Or, just shout, “yoo-hoo!” every time you pass someone on the street.
If you missed last week’s Merry Musing, you can find it here. What is your Merry Musing this week?