As a young person in this world today, making good decisions can be extremely difficult.
When you're in high school or college and trying to choose good for yourself, the weekend can be an especially tough time.
Scratch that, the weekend can be an impossible time. It certainly was for me for a time in my life.
Friday can be a day where you have to say no to party invitations or invitations to hang out at all. It can be a day when you wonder what you'll do all weekend and when you can anticipate the photos that will show up on your Instagram feed of plenty of people you know having plenty of "fun." It may be a day when you battle with your own self from the morning to the night as to whether or not you'll stick to your promise to yourself (and possibly others) to make good choices. Friday can be a tough day. So can Saturday. And even Sunday, too.
Many people who have heard me speak have heard me witness to my testimony of trying to make good decisions in high school and college. In high school I had an easier time finding friends that supported my positive decisions than I did in college. College was nearly impossible. I didn't want to go to parties or hang out with people who drank or did drugs. I didn't want to find guys to hook up with and I certainly wanted to remember everything I did over the weekend when I went back to school on Monday. Needless to say, not many people at Arizona State wanted the same thing.
I went through a tough period of false friendships and betrayal during the fall of my freshman year. Left without friends, I looked far and wide for people who wanted the same things I did, and I just couldn't seem to find any. After a while, it got tiring to keep looking. I felt so foolish on some days for going against what everyone else did and constantly tried to maintain a level head on what I knew I wanted for myself. So I spent a lot of weekends alone and eventually I came to hate the weekend. During the week I had classes to attend and work to be doing, but when the weekend rolled around I had nothing to do when everybody else seemed to be having so much fun. I counted down the minutes until I could go to bed on Sunday, thankful that Monday had come once again. That was a very difficult time in my life.
After months of this, being the good God that He is, God led me to go to Mass at the Newman Center one night where I heard about some college nights I could get involved in. That was such a huge blessing in my life. I started attending regularly and through that, I met some great girls who had a women's night going and other great friends who planned fun things to do on the weekends. After a long time of searching, I had finally found some people with the same values and desire for good that I had. They were at church. Of course they were at church.
Indeed, making good decisions can seemingly be awful in the moment, the day, the month, or the season of your life. It can make you feel left out, lonely, foolish, and torn. But when I remember why I make the decisions I do, I am always happy to feel left out, foolish, and lonely to maintain my dignity, my health, my safety, and my well-being. These things are important to me, and consistently going against the flow to hold onto them is the most worthwhile endeavor I've taken on in my life so far.
If you're a young person like me and you find the weekends impossible sometimes, I felt compelled to write to you today to tell you that you're not alone. I want you to know that it is possible to find people who choose good for themselves, it is possible to go against the flow, and it is possible to have fun in many ways other than what our society tells us. Keep your head and your heart up - you and I are in this together.