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Last advice: Be kind, be kind always

It feels fitting that I’m writing my last column for the Wave on a plane headed west.

Today must be my lucky day because I’m assigned to a window seat. Several thousand feet below me, the earth’s surface is cracked with canyons. No sign of water for miles. I think it might be the Rockies.

Only because this is my last column, I’ll spare you the rest of the dreary details of my view. What I really want to share today involves beginnings and endings. Resolutions and closures.

I have a tradition of making formal resolutions three times a year: the first, set of goals on New Year’s, the second, set before summer vacation, and the third, set before school begins.

Usually, my resolutions involve getting good grades or eating better or exercising more or being less mean to the brother. Less this, more that — the typical impossible resolution-y goals. Making lists and setting absurdly high expectations that I have no chance at fulfilling is something I’m pretty good at, if I do say so myself.

I’m currently in the middle of making my third and last set of resolutions for the year, but for some reason, my typical impossible resolution-y goals don’t seem to reach my absurdly high expectations.

I even wrote down all the things I planned on doing this upcoming semester but the list looks simultaneously excessive and inadequate. I am stuck. I am hurling through air inside an aerodynamic piece aluminum. I am...

I am on my way back to campus, and all I want this time around is to never feel sorry for myself the way I did earlier this year. From week one, my small liberal arts college has more or less bombarded me with messages affirming that I am special, and since then, I fear that I’ve been viewing my surroundings through a spoiled and self-absorbed light.

I want to focus on fixing that this semester. So I’m ditching the basic ‘less this, more that; higher GPA, lower sodium intake’ plans to get down to what really matters. As Henry James once wrote, “There are three important things: First, be kind. Second, be kind. Third, be kind.”

For the rest of this year (and I guess the rest of my life), I want to practice kindness. That’s all.

Ultimately, that’s all I have left to say.

I’m sure by next week, I’ll be a faraway memory in this town’s conscience. Just another kid who graduated high school and left for the big city. I’m actually OK with that. I think that’s how it should be.

But Detroit Lakes will always stay dear and near to my heart because this was the place I cried over boys and B’s and bruises on my knees, and this was the place I laughed with friends until sunrise, and this was the place where I called home.

Being a columnist not only allowed me to diligently document my first year away from home, but it has also served as a reminder of where I came from and how that has shaped me. And I won’t forget that.

It has been a pleasure writing for the Wave. Thank you for reading.