Growing Older: Reader Essay by RaeAnna Buchholz

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

W2017_GrowingOlderRaeAnnaBuchholz_Inline300 From a young age we’re programmed to set long-term goals: go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, and raise the next generation to repeat the process. I worried since childhood what my life would look like: Will I be accepted into college? How will I pay for it? Where will I live and how will I support myself? What if I’m not successful in one or all of the goals I’ve set?

Aging and life have taught me is that it’s OK not to adhere to a strict plan of action; it’s OK to let things fall as they will—or as the French say, laissez-faire. I become stressed worrying about achieving so many short and long-term goals that I sometimes neglect to live in the moment.

Aging is natural and should be embraced rather than feared. We evolve with more experiences, wisdom, and opportunities to grow. We examine what we want out of life and follow a path that brings us joy. Where we end up may not be exactly as planned, but what ultimately matters is finding happiness. At age 22, I’m proud of the person I’ve become. I look forward to pivoting toward life post-college graduation. As the saying goes: Live well, laugh often, and love much. It’s an excellent mantra and a way of life I’ve found to be very fulfilling.

-RaeAnna Buchholz (B.A. ’16), St. Paul

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