For a university located in such a heavily populated city, it had a surprisingly ‘woodsy’ feel to it. There was easily a hundred trees or so on its campus, and each one did its part for drowning out the noise caused by the steady stream of traffic that zoomed by the school’s perimeter. Fall, of course, was when they looked their most majestic, but students also loved how they sparkled after an ice storm.
On this day, though, what stood out about them the most weren’t the leaves, or the way they offered refuge from the wind or the sun. Rather, it was the note secured to each tree with a strip of hockey tape.
Students immediately noticed the notes the second they stepped onto school grounds, and because the message was the same on all of the trees, it didn’t matter where the kids went on campus that day. The lesson the author was hoping to convey would be seen by all.
DON’T DO IT, it began. Don’t fall for all those things you’ve been taught to want, that you’ve been taught to think will make you happy, or that you’ve been taught to believe will make you more acceptable to others. It’s all a lie.
Maybe being married will make you happy, or having kids, or getting that job with the fancy title, but before you jump into any of it, think about it. Really, really, think about it. Do you want those things or do you only think you do because that’s what your parents and your teachers and the movies have taught you to want? Because if you get caught up in those lies, then you will have to become a liar yourself. You will have to pretend that the shiny toys and the big house are worth the crushing credit card debt and the ten extra years of mortgage payments. You will have to pretend that all the work you put into raising kids and the sacrifices you made for them was worth it even though they moved to the other side of the country the second they grew up. You will have to pretend that you’re absolutely thrilled with the extra responsibilities that were dumped on you after the last round of layoffs. To say how you really felt would cost you your job, what’s left of your relationships, and your pride.
It’s too late for me, but there’s still time for you to make the right choices in life. Be smart about it. If what you’re presented with really will make you happy, then do it. But if there’s even the slightest chance it won’t, don’t.
Now go to class, or don’t. Only you have the right to make that call.
Someone Who Wishes They Could Do It All Over Again
Professors noticed a drop in attendance that day, and were sad that they weren’t free to play hooky as well.