G. N. O.

Sometimes you are in bed, fulfilling the definitions of comfort with your laptop open to Netflix, and you are wonderfully warm in your sweats and your robe. Then someone texts you, wanting to go out. But you really just want to stay at home and watch the latest episode of Parks & Rec.

But sometimes you get a text that offers an adventure. “Let’s go watch seals.” “Let’s blast nothing but throwback music.” “Let’s do obnoxious friend things.” And all you can think is, Oh, hell yes. I am in. So you get out of your sweats and put on your favorite black skinny jeans and your brand new sweater that is softer than a golden retriever puppy, and you go on that adventure.

Mads is driving, you’re in the passenger seat, Tori and Kristin are in the back seat. Kristin takes control of the aux cord–true to suggestion, she plays the best throwbacks. You are laughing about nothing and winding through the dark road to Avila Beach.

It’s dark, but you still get to see the seals swimming around and jumping in and out of the water. You guys are taking snapchats of each other making weird noises and faces. You are also trying your best to take selfies on Kristin’s GoPro. Is it working? Well, sort of.

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Shout out to Tori’s floating head, am I right?

Then you pretend to be little kids on the swings. Flying through the air and looking at the millions, billions, trillions of stars in the sky. You don’t get to see those at home. It is freeing, that moment of weightlessness before gravity pulls you back to earth. The wind on your cheeks stings a little, but it makes you feel alive.

Suddenly, all of you are craving ice cream, despite the cold weather. A McFlurry? you suggest. Yes. An Oreo McFlurry with hot fudge will do the trick. And jumping into the warmth of the car, you are off! Yelling the lyrics to “Fergalicious,” a middle school classic, and “GNO” by Miley Cyrus, because this is the definition of a “girls’ night out.”

You can’t help but giggle at the price coming out to $4.20–because even though you are second-year college students, you still find joy in the little things. And you find a huge booth in the back of the McDonalds and keep laughing. About how you would react the same way seeing a ghost as seeing a penis. (Too much??). How your squad can fit perfectly in an Uber. How strange that guy you used to work with’s Instagram is. I mean, take my word for it: it’s weird.

And every minute you remember that these are the reasons you keep moving forward. These moments are the ones you will remember when you are out in the drizzle bawling your eyes out at a cold and wet picnic table. These moments and these memories are what you live for.

I know I have been writing a lot of posts in the second person lately. I’m not sorry for it. But this night was about me. It was about my friends. It was about my life.

If you had told me a year or so ago that I would go on a late night adventure with three of my best friends to watch sea lions swim in the dark and then scream the words to songs I will always remember the lyrics to, then I would have called you a liar. But I also would have dreamed about that experience, wondering if it would come true. If I could really be that happy. And if you told me a year ago, people would look at my squad in envy, I would have laughed in your face. But people love us. People love me. And they are people I love back. People I thank God every day for.

I never want to miss a moment that can be spent laughing until I cry with my best friends and making jokes we will remind each other about in Cabo when we are fifty.

Sometimes you have to get out of your robe and put on a cute outfit to remember just got good life is. (Of course, I fully support wearing sweatpants out in public–I do it all the time with zero shame). Never miss a minute. Never regret an adventure. Never miss a chance to belt Fergie’s rap, whether you know all the words or not.

Because life is so worth it.

-Ash ❤

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