Last week, I came here to write about the first semester of my first year at University. I was planing to write the second part of that story sooner than now. Unfortunately, my friend passed away between now and then. She entered the the plot line during the part of the story I’m about to tell. Needless to say, this blog will take a different angle than the last. So here it is…

Fall semester came and went. People often ask me how fast ten months went by. But the time did not pass quickly. It went by excruciatingly slow. But it didn’t last forever. It ended.

I spent my Christmas break with Jenn in Salt Lake City. We reminisced. We shared company. It was a really nastolgic time. But just as all good things end, Jenn and I also had to end. Our time expired. Unfortunately it ended in conflict. I take full responsibility for that. I’m burdened to say that it probably ended for the better. I came around to closing that chapter. It was a hard page to turn, but I turned it. And I did it just in time for the start of a new year and a new semester.

Over a period of time, the realization came to me that I have to change how I think, because I cant change what happened. Mindfulness and meditation were the catalyst I found to go from there to here. I began to heal from the hurt. I could likely write a novel from my discoveries about the nature of life, and suffering. I could tell you more than enough about the carefull balance of mental health. For the sake of this story, I can tell you this… I never cured my anxiety and depression. I still haven’t. I only found a treatment for it.

With my new-found treatment, I squeezed every last drop of the good and bad out of Spring semester. I found the key to unlock every door. I learned the secret of how to relish in the highs and the lows.

That semester, I reveled in extreme elation from jackshit nothing. Why? Because I learned how be mindful of even the smallest things… So small in fact, that I learned what it meant to,”get high from your own air supply”. I bore with grace, all the lows. I still had episodes during that time. Except this time around, things were different. I was different. I knew that in all the despair, there was an equal amount of light. I only had to learn how to turn it around. So that’s what did. I took every blow that life sent my way. I took it like a god-dammed champ. Every single time that I got knocked to my knees, I picked myself up, and found a way to keep going. I’ve gotten quite used to doing that now.

In January, I took a huge leap by applying for a job as a staff writer for the school’s newspaper. It was my first year as a Journalism major, and I had zero experience. The paper’s staff was generous enough to put me on board as a writer for the Art & Culture section. I’ve never asked, but I assume that they saw my hunger and determination to do well at the paper.

My job at the paper sent me all over the school. I talked to hundred’s of students and teachers. Most of my articles were centered around the arts. I got to know the Dance, Music and Theatre departments quite well. I made lots of friends and acquaintances there also.

I’m proud to say that I pitched most of my stories. The first of which was a student profile on my friend Vladimir, who single- handedly cultivates the greenhouse at UVU. I meet vlad at the beggining of the semester while was running a plant sale in the atrium. vlad gave me my first article that semester, and because I’m such a plant whore, I began hanging out at the greenhouse.

I have no shame in admitting that being in the greenhouse eased me when the anxiety began creeping. Near the end of semester, I stepped up to be the VP of the horticulture club.

I met Megan midway through the semester. Our friendship began when she approached me for a cigarrete. We began hanging out at and outside the school. We went to school concerts. We studied together for hours. We made friends together. We smoked stuff. We sang. We played the guitar. I could go all day long with the things we did together.

I told Megan my demons and she told me hers. We bonded over a lot of late nights and bowls of weed. Megan helped me turn anxiety into peace. She showed me how to live. I’ll never forget you Megan. Last semester was for you. You didn’t die in vain Megan.

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you. I truly appreciate the few of you who have found what I have to write worth reading.

Erik H.